My Neighbor Is an Atheist
by Jim Newton
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Hi, I’m Larry O’Donnell. I love my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. My goal everyday is to serve Christ better than the day before. Our Lord has blessed me with a most wonderful wife and six remarkable children. I and my family are truly blessed by God with the most important things in life.
My neighbor, Justin Saks, is an atheist. I sincerely love him as a great person and true friend. I would do anything in the world for him. He has been blessed, as I have, with a wonderful and loving wife and three exceptional children. One could not ask the Lord for a more virtuous family next door than the Saks family? Ahh, yes, how blessed we O’Donnell’s are.
Justin is the host on a talk radio show. He is considered to have an uninhibited style; especially, when interviewing Christians. He is rather abrupt…out-front, one might say. That doesn’t concern me anymore than his atheist views. My wife and I get a good guffaw out of his shows.
I suppose, you think I’m an only-in-the-pew Christian…perhaps a Sunday saint and Monday sinner. I’ll give you another good guffaw for that thinking, and won’t think the less of you for it.
As I tried to explain earlier, Christ is my life. Jesus explains in the Bible in Mark that the two greatest commandments are: to love the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and, the second, love your neighbor as yourself. You can read that passage upside down and sideways, but it still tells you the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as you love yourself. Furthermore, It doesn’t say, love your neighbor unless he’s an atheist, a non-caucasion, a murderer, a drug dealer, etc, my friend. It’s very simple. Jesus didn’t come here to confuse us. He came here, among other things, to clarify. Do not add words to his sentences or take little pieces of sentences here and there to bolster a lie.
Justin called earlier this morning and said he is coming over to talk. I hope all is well. He sounded very somber. Here he comes. His head is lowered as if in deep thought. I do hope all is well.
“Larry thanks for meeting with me.”
“I’m always available for you my friend. Have a seat here on the patio, and let’s enjoy a cup of coffee with our talk.”
“Larry, how do you believe in something you can’t see?”
Larry looked off into the distance with a look of a person studying and deep-thinking all in one moment. After a few moments, he turned his head to be face to face with Justin. The look on his face was familiar to Justin. It was a look that was soft and kind that only comes from a soul filled with the love of the holy spirit.
“Justin, can you see the wind?”
“But you believe it exists, right?”
“It’s the same with God. You cannot see him, but, as the tree moves the trees and the clouds and feel it upon your face, you see what God has created, you feel him in your soul, in your spirit. God is spirit. You don’t expect to see and understand spirit with physical examples; just the same as you don’t expect to explain the physical with the spiritual examples. You talk to God with your spirit. He answers through your spirit. If you don’t get to know him through his holy words in the Bible, through faithful prayer, and truly have a burning desire to know him, then why would you expect him to reveal himself to you?”
“You have told me this same thing with some variation many times, Larry. It astounds me that you would treat me as if I am your best friend every time I see you. After all the Christian bashing I have done on my talk show, it is such a powerful statement you make with your kindly actions toward me. How Larry…how?”
“It is very simple, Justin. I am a Christian. Our Lord commands me to love all people without exception, just as he does for us.”
“Larry, I have tried several times to get this out – to come to terms with what I’m feeling. I start, then stop, then start, then stop…”
“Justin, I’ve known for a long time that there is a great struggle going on inside you. I know Jesus wants you to know and accept him as your Lord and Savior. But, Justin, a forced conversion is a shallow thing. You must come to terms with our Lord at your pace, and on his schedule. God is always available to you. You know I went through a similar soul wrenching battle with my old self as I turned toward his loving light and walked out of the darkness.”
Hi, I’m Larry O’Donnell. Justin Saks and his fine family are my neighbors. They are devout Christians. In case I forgot to mention it, their neighbors, the Berrys, are atheists. Justin and I love the Berrys. They are a wonderful family.
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