Like a Good Neighbor, Jesus is There!
Do you remember the front porch? There was a time in America when people would sit out on their front porch in the evening and the kids would play until dark and the adults would talk to each other. It made for a great community. Neighbors cared for one another, helped each other in emergencies and kept a watchful eye on your kids as well as their own. It was a great way to keep informed of what was going on in the neighborhood. Neighbors provided protection for one another because they knew everyone that belonged in the neighborhood and kept a watchful eye on strangers. Many things have changed since then, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get to know your neighbors. I think one of the enemy’s greatest strategies was removing the front porch and inventing the garage door opener, because our communication has become so limited.
Spring is finally here, and as everything comes back to life, so does seeing your neighbors. Last fall when the time changed and the cool crisp air kicked in, the hibernation of the neighbors began. The interaction you normally had with your neighbors came to a screeching halt. Cars were no longer left in driveways, but driven straight into the garage where the door would close quickly to keep out the cold. The occasional conversations about baseball, football and kids were now limited to just quick hand waves as you passed each other.
Once again it’s neighbor weather! It is nice to greet one another and hear the laughter of children outside playing on the sidewalk. It’s great to see and share what’s been happening in their lives and talk about the weather and how things are going at work. Yet, the people God places in our neighborhood are the people we tend to avoid talking to about our relationship with Christ.
I had a conversation with a friend who recently lost one of her neighbors, and she stated she wasn’t sure if she had any religious affiliation. She shared with me the one thing she truly regretted was never sharing her faith with her. Out of curiosity I asked why she hadn’t, and her reply was “It never came up.” How often does that happen? I have to admit there are times I can talk about a million things and never bring up my relationship with Christ. It made me think about the neighbors who surround me. I’ve talked to my neighbors, but do they know who I truly am? Do our neighbors know my husband and I are Christ-followers? Do they know if they have any questions about our faith they can come and ask? Do our lives demonstrate loving our neighbors as ourselves? The more I thought about this more I was convicted to look at this scripture and its meaning:
Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
Eight times in scripture we are told to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. This shows you how important it is to God, to love our neighbors. Who are these neighbors? A neighbor isn’t just the person we live by, but it is anyone who is in need. Jesus is calling us to share our compassion and love with one another. How do we love our neighbors like ourselves? By loving God with all our heart, soul and mind, constantly remembering how much Jesus loves us. This is our motivation for showing love to all our neighbors. What kind of neighbors are we if we only love the ones we know and like?
How do we share our faith with our closest neighbors without offending? After all, we have to live with our neighbors and there is nothing worse than having disgruntled neighbors after a dispute. Let’s face it, religion and politics are hot topics which can push anyone’s buttons.
Simply demonstrate the same love Jesus demonstrated to you. Jesus didn’t shove the truth down anyone’s throat. He simply observed a need, acted with kindness, and if asked for advice He always gave them something to think about.
Have you seen the State Farm commercials where a person in crisis says, “Like a Good Neighbor, State Farm is There” and the representative immediately shows up to help? They are great commercials, ones which really stick with you because you remember who the commercials are for and what they are promoting. Think of your neighbors in the same way, but better because they don’t have to pay a premium to have a good neighbor like you. Just be Jesus to your neighbors – available, kind and compassionate. Plant seeds in your neighbor’s hearts and just watch them grow.
Next week, I will share some creative ways to get to know your neighbors and demonstrate God’s commandment to love your neighbor as yourself!