Loving Your Neighbor

(A Follow-up to Encourage some Follow-up)

You may remember that we set out to get to know the people on our street and had an eventful potluck last June. To be honest with you, as life got hectic, days were shorter, and neighbors moved off and on our block, we lost momentum. Here recently we decided that we would have another potluck in February to spread some love outside of our walls and take it to the streets. So I wanted to dedicate this blog post to encouraging you – (yes, you), that no matter what kind of neighbors you have, they would love to get to know you better, all you have to do is ask! So what might that look like for you:

“We’ve lived here a long time and now it’s awkward to reach out.”

You know when that stops being awkward? When you go reach out. Lean into it; use it as an excuse to introduce yourself – “I can’t believe we’ve both lived here for so long but don’t even know your last name – Ours is _____.”

“We are about to move or are only here temporarily.”

First off – aren’t we all? This is the perfect win-win because if you invite them over and it gets weird – you’re moving soon! If you invite them over and they’re you’re new best friends – you have new friends and can invite them to your new house too!! See? Win-win.

“My neighbors are not nice.”

Who needs a friend in you and a friend in Jesus more than someone who is grouchy/rude/doesn’t mow their lawn/has questionable taste in acquaintances?  No one. Hop to.

“I could knit together a new family member with the amount of dust bunnies on the floor/my 2 legged hairless pet turtle make guests uncomfortable/I don’t want other people in my space.”

There is no rule that the only way to show love to someone is to invite them into your casa! Drop off a frozen pizza and paper plates to the family that just had a baby or take them some cookies (I trust Jesus can work with Break-and-Bake and a joyful heart) – everyone loves cookies!

“I already know and love all my neighbors.”

You go Glen Coco! Share your ideas with those of us who don’t live on your street. How’d you make that happen? What has been your favorite way to reach out? Teach us your ways!

There are a few things that are pretty clear in God’s word, so here’s to saving you some time wondering if you should walk down the street:

“The second (greatest commandment) is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Mark 12:31 (NIV)

“A new commandment I give to you, love one another; just as I have loved you, you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV)

“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” 1 John 3:18 (NIV)

Grace abounds! If this feels like one more thing to fail at, can I challenge you to do two things? Well, really it’s just one: Pray. Ask God would give you a heart like his to love the people around you and to put one person or family in your path. Just start with one.