Love your neighbour

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Love your neighbour

By Ashley Thaba

WE recently had a job in our kitchen which required different teams of men to come and attend.

One thing I realised was how they did the bare minimum possible. They broke cabinets and promised: “We will come tomorrow and fix” (lie!).

They “forgot” to bring things they promised and then came up with lies that the stores were out of stock (as if every store in our city didn’t have stock).

They promised to come a day after but they didn’t show — leaving me with a half-done mess and inability to use my kitchen for a week.

They made messes and had no problem leaving them with no regard that we had to live in the messes they created.

Clearly, there was zero thought to how their actions were affecting our family.
They grabbed buckets without asking and used them to mix cement and left the cement without cleaning.

Buckets that I was using to collect rainwater are completely spoiled, filled with unused, uncleaned hardened cement.

I could go on and on with lies, half done job, things that went missing while they were here, etc.

Bottom line.

No integrity! No compassion! No desire to do their best.

No concern for how their actions affected others.

Just get in and do the bare minimum — lie to make the customer think things will get better with time and get out of there.

I thought back to a conversation with my aunt over Christmas while in America.

At 70, she and her husband decided they no longer needed the large childhood home they raised their children in.

It was time to downsize.

She explained in great detail how she spent the entire last week living in her house before the new family moved in cleaning every inch.

The house was sold.

The money was in the bank.

The deal was sealed.

There was no reason to be cleaning it.

The buyer already liked the house and were moving in.

My aunt knew this was a young couple with a pregnant wife and young children.

Her hands would be full and her back would be aching.

Moving boxes and getting settled in was going to be hard enough.

She wanted to give her the gift of not having to worry about cleaning the home.

Picture a 70-year-old lady in a double storey home scrubbing the stairs, getting on a ladder and wiping clean the tops of the shelves in the closets, getting on her knees and scrubbing behind the toilet, etc.

She said she worked for a week because she wanted to leave the house in a spotless condition that would bless this couple.

Analysing the two scenarios in my mind, I pondered why so different.

Here in Africa, the kitchen workers were actually paid to do the job and still didn’t care.

She was going to be paid whether it was clean or not and yet still she went the extra mile.

The difference — empathy.

When I asked her why she would do that, she simply stated: “I would want someone to do that for me, so I want to treat others the same way.”

It never crossed her mind that she could just leave the house in a mess.

Why not? It was no longer her problem to deal with! Why? She was thinking about how her actions would affect the other family.

Would her actions burden them or bless them? She took joy in helping someone else even if that meant she had to work to do it.

She selflessly sacrificed her time to brighten someone’s day.

May I challenge us to heed Jesus’ wise advice to love others as we love ourselves.

Every day, can we put ourselves in another person’s shoes and ask ourselves: Do my actions hurt or help someone? Can I do something to bless another? If I do (or don’t do this), will I cause joy or pain in that person?

If we could start working for others out of love, empathy and compassion our customer service and our friendships would improve!

Moreover, I believe each of us as people would feel more fulfilled if we spent our day blessing others rather than wasting so much mental space coming up with the next lie to do the least amount of work possible.

Let me leave you with this question: When was the last time you brightened someone’s day?

When was the last time you did something selfless getting nothing in return but the joy of knowing you helped someone?

  • Ashley Thaba is a life-coach, team-building facilitator and motivational speaker.