I remember when I rang their doorbell. After the “ding-dong”…I also heard the woman of the house yelling loudly at her husband. The weird thing is I did not hear any voices before my finger pressed their doorbell. I am the one who felt like a ding-dong standing there. It was too late to walk away.
The door finally opened and there stood Mr. and Mrs. Awkward Face. I had to say something. Ummm…“I am your neighbor. Just wanted to introduce myself and welcome you to the neighborhood.” I got a half-baked smile in return. I stuck my hand out. The Mr. of the house shook it. I learned that the Mrs. worked at a church in some children’s ministry.
After my introduction, months passed. The Mrs. would periodically come out of her house. I heard her yell at her husband multiple times all over the yard, even if he was up a ladder or behind a mower. One day she made her way to the office where my wife works. My wife told me it sounded like a Chihuahua, as everyone heard her complaining with another office worker about some church function. She finally realized my wife was in that office when their eyes met. My wife smiled back. We don’t bark back. We can “choose” to love our neighbors.
Even though people are more self-consumed today, the truth remains, Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 NLT) Though the younger generation does prefer to walk on easy street, I have to admit, this is a hard command to follow sometimes.
Can author Francis Chan help out with my disillusionment? In Forgotten God, he writes “Honestly, sometimes I am embarrassed by some of my “Christian” neighbors because my unbelieving neighbors seem more joyful, welcoming, and at peace. Why does this happen? And how is it even possible?”
He is correct, but let’s be fair. Have I ever had an intense disagreement with my wife? Of-course. Have you ever had an argument with someone? No one is perfect, but we all have neighbors around us who need love regardless. Jesus commanded it.
Who are our neighbors? The person you sit next to at the office. Widows. The U.S. Postal service person who delivers mail to you six days a week.
Families within a stones throw from your house and beyond like people in Florida recovering from 2018’s Hurricane Michael. In fact, our next door neighbor (Sherri) just returned from Florida where she served food to those who lost everything. I acknowledge our world is different today, and no one (like Mr. Rogers) is gonna sing, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” However, that does not mean we shouldn’t love our neighbors or make the first move in fostering a relationship. “Won’t You Love…Your Neighbor?”
pictures courtesy of “Nelson and his Nikon”