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February 5, 2010
todays post is from my friend shawn wallace. it may not be easy for everyone to read. not that it isnt good, but it might convict some. (and apologies for the lack of spacing. WP would not accept any spaces when saving this draft. so sorry)

37 “And he said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.38 This is the great and first commandment.39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” -Matthew 22

Do you love your neighbor?
Who is your neighbor?
I see people who, because they can’t define their neighbor, choose not to love their neighbor and do nothing at all.
There are even people who hide behind Twitter and Facebook and the television instead of going out and risking by having “breathing the same air” relationships. We have nerves in our skin, people – we’re meant to rub shoulders with other humans.
While the Bible doesn’t define our “neighbor,” allow me to do that for you so you can get to work loving them as yourself (just in case you’re not sure who your neighbor is).
Go out your front door. Do a 360 degree turn all the way around. If you can see a door, that’s your neighbor.
For those of you who live in an apartment complex or dorm, just consider your floor (or, for smaller venues, the whole building) your neighbor. If you live out in the country, expand your radius to 1 or 5 or 10 miles.
So, stop reading this post, get up, and go out your front door. Right now. Go take a “neighbor inventory.”
(cue the Jeopardy theme – you can hum this while you’re looking around if you want)
Now what? How do you love your neighbor as yourself?
42 “Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.” -Matthew 5
Start with your immediate, literal next door neighbor. If you don’t know them, go introduce yourself. Ask them out for coffee (your treat). If you do know them, slap together a casserole or some cookies and drop them by. “Hey, just wanted you to have these.” No strings attached. Give them the food and exit.
Be intentional and check in on them from time to time. I’m terrible about remembering to do this so I use Google Calendar’s recurring events function regularly to ensure I keep up with my “neighbor.”
Then, make a dinner date. Get to know them. Find out where they’re from, what they do, what they love, what they hate, how they play, how they’re suffering, and how you can pray for them.
Sure, you can ask them to church. Try developing a relationship first, though. They’ll feel more like they’re trusted than just a trophy.
The most important thing is that you’re consistently being in relationship with them. Consistency shows them they matter to you, and ultimately to the Christ you serve. Christ is there for us every day. Shouldn’t you model that same trait?
It’s as if we’ve lost the simple art of being human. Instead, we’re absorbed with having an intimate relationship with this Creator but we forget why he became flesh. He died so that we might live, and that we might share that good news, that gospel, with the world.
We who claim to follow Christ are to be His hands and feet while we walk this dirt and we need to have intimate relationships with the Creator’s creation while we’re here. Being friends with “church” people, going to Sunday worship and pot lucks and Wednesday night bible studies just isn’t enough.
It’s time to start living outside our comfort zone, to start living in discomfort, so the world can come to know the Comforter.
And don’t worry – I stink at this, too. So let’s do this together.
do you find this difficult to do?
do you have any creative ways that you go and meet your neighbors?
4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2010 5:59 am

    I SOOOO suck at this! If only my neighbors were people I go to church with……

    Literally getting up to go knock on a door…..sorry I didn’t do it when the music was playing up there…..reading the whole post is a bad habit of mine :D.


  2. February 5, 2010 9:25 am

    Great post. I’ve been kicking this idea around since last night when I saw an old guy fall at a coffee shop and no one rose to help him…not even the folks at the two Bible Studies happening at the place. If you can’t help someone in need when it’s clear they need it, how can you even pretend to “love your neighbor”?

    It’s sad we’re in a world where saying “Hi” is considered too much of a task for most Christians.

  3. February 5, 2010 11:32 am

    I used to be good at this before being homebound, but now, being on the receiving end of kind neighbors who know my situation I fully understand what it must have meant to others in my “previous life.”

    Being cared for in a sincere way is more valuable than anything.

  4. March 17, 2010 11:21 am

    I agree with you completely. In the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives we often don’t have the time to care for anybody else other than our immediate family… or so we say. At the same time, we spend hours chatting with virtual friends that we have never met and are not likely to meet either. Why go so far when there are so many people living in our neighborhood who we have never even met or said hello to? There are elderly people living alone who could use a helping hand with their chores or shopping or just someone to talk to. It doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t take a whole lot of time to knock on your neighbor’s door and say hello and be a friend.

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