If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.”
1 John 4:20

Nature knows what it needs to do. It doesn’t argue, it doesn’t hate, and it doesn’t see color differences. These two mushrooms do not look the same, yet they have grown up side by side, shared the same rain water, soil and sun, and their roots are likely entwined. They are close neighbors who rely on the same things in life, and both receive the same gifts freely given by God.

We as humans need to learn from these mushrooms!

“Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.”
Romans 12:16

There is not a single person on this planet, now, nor in the past, nor will there be in the future – with the exception of Jesus Christ – that is more important than your neighbors of any size, shape, color, age or health, and this includes YOU. In addition, what you believe, WHO you believe in, what denomination you are, which political party you affiliate with, or how much $$ you make makes you no better than any of your neighbors.

…Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, according to the measure of faith God has given you.”
Romans 12:3

Who is our neighbor? ANYONE we cross paths with, whether near or far, with whom we can affect their life in some way, or vice versa.

There is absolutely NO reason why we as followers of Jesus Christ should be arguing, hating, disregarding, or verbally assaulting – whether on FB or Twitter or any other social media platform – someone with whom we disagree with or dislike. To do so in a way that intentionally turns people away from our Savior or His church because we are being a poor example of love, is a SIN. Name-calling and put-downs via social media or gossiping with a mean spirit behind it do not testify to God’s love, nor ours as christians.

“Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.”
Proverbs 10:12

God created ALL men (people) equally. If your skin color isn’t the same shade as someone else’s, rejoice in God’s color palette! He is not a Creator that made anything accidentally, or as a second thought, or without intentional forethought and perfect love. So how dare we view another as less, or better! God the Father sees us as His children, and does not show partiality between us. He will choose different roads for each of us to travel down, and we will cross paths with 1,000’s of others He has made, for a reason. If we are black, white, yellow, brown, blonde, ash, pink, golden, or red, wrinkled or smooth, we all share the same Father, the same breath from God, the same planet, and ultimately the same destination of Heaven!

These two mushrooms (pictured) have grown closer together throughout the seasons of their life, having shared the same trials and triumphs, yet still remain by each other’s side.

Let us strive to remain by each others’ side in this difficult season of sickness, violence, and division.

How can we grow closer to our ‘neighbors’ of all varieties? Get up, get out, and meet them! Then encourage one another, share your meals with them, lift a helping hand, listen to their hurts and joys, and trust that God has put them in your life for a reason.

We have so much in common with mankind as a whole, regardless of skin, hair, lifestyle, or status. It is by love alone that we can live in harmony and experience that peace that we as individuals and as a nation need.

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:35

Food for thought: “When Jesus said, ‘love your neighbor’, He knew your neighbor would act, look, believe and love differently than you. It’s kind of the whole point!”
– Seven Lemon Art
“It means helping your neighbor even if they don’t live next door.”
– Veggietales

Fun facts: There are over 10,000 known types of mushrooms. They are a critical part of our ecosystem. We use them for eating, supplements, vitality, coffee, facials, antioxidants, and drugs. Pictured above are Amanita mushrooms, white and brown. Both are of the same family of fungi, yet look very different.

Photo by: Kari Wiseman – Mushroom neighbors