26 Apr Good Fences Don’t Make Good Neighbors
Being a good neighbor isn’t as easy as it sounds. I’m often tempted to think it means making sure your dog doesn’t poop in other people’s yards and waving to your neighbors when you’re both outside. Unfortunately, many of us go for years without even knowing the names of the people on our street.
When you read Jesus’ teaching in the gospels, he doesn’t talk much about just being distantly friendly to other people. Instead, he talks about loving them. Think about the teaching of the Good Samaritan; consider the way that Jesus lived his life. He constantly sacrificed for the benefit of others. We’re called to love those around us (i.e. our neighbors) by sacrificing for them – by taking the time to get to know them so that we have a voice in their lives.
But, practically, it isn’t easy to bridge that gap, especially if you’ve been in your neighborhood for a while. How do you begin to get to know your neighbors so that you can share your life with them?
Pray. Begin praying for your neighbors – by name if you know them. Pray for them on a regular basis. Ask God to provide opportunities for interactions with those on your street.
Start small. You don’t have to invite them for dinner the first time you talk with them. You can start small. Ask a question and share a detail about your own life. Then, make a note to remember what they’ve told you so you can ask about it the next time you see them.
Open up your life. Begin to make yourself available to your neighbors. Whether that’s inviting them into your home for a meal, asking them if they need anything from the grocery store or bringing back their garbage bin, the important thing is that you are beginning to open your life to them. As followers of Jesus, we can open ourselves to others and invite them in.
Persevere. Continue to reach out to your neighbors and to pray for them, even if they reject you. Your faithfulness to pursue them reflects Jesus’ faithful pursuit of us “while we were yet sinners.”
Looking for a simple way to connect with your neighbors now?
Consider inviting them to volunteer with you and your family on HOG Day. Working together for the good of your community is a great way to start building a relationship.
Megan is spending her 20’s doing as much travel as her job at Grace Church will allow. She is incapable of letting a day go by without a physical challenge, is terrified of being stuck in an airport without a good book, and holds a particular bitterness towards hikes that don’t lead to waterfalls. Megan attends our Downtown campus.