Getting to Know Our NeighborsThis practical post on getting to know your neighbors is by Sam Riviera. Sam is a frequent contributor to this blog. See the bottom of this post for more articles in this series about getting to know your neighbors.
My wife and I know most of the people in our neighborhood and in the two adjoining neighborhoods, a total of about three hundred homes. Several neighbors have told us that we know more neighbors than anyone else in the neighborhood, and asked us how that happened, since many of our neighbors have lived here longer than we have.
Follow Jesus to Your Neighbor’s HouseWe enjoy getting to know neighbors. It may appear to come natural to us, but we make it an intentional part of following Jesus.
In this series I will discuss some of the methods that have worked for us in getting to know our neighbors, how we move some of the relationships beyond just being acquainted, and what we’re doing now to move those relationships to yet another level.
Living in Neighborly IsolationMost of us drive home from work, push the button on our remote garage door opener, pull into the garage, close the garage door, and go into the house. If we emerge from the house that evening, we may go only to our backyard, possibly to play with our children, or to grill something on our outdoor grill. The next morning, we raise the garage door, back out, and wave to a neighbor as we pull away from our house.
If we hire a lawn service, we may rarely spend any time in our front yard. If we’re lucky, we may know the people who live next to us, but probably don’t know most of the people who live two or three houses away from ours. We may notice a house with an unkempt yard, or the house with several broken-down cars parked in front. But we don’t know the people who live there, and assume they’re probably lazy.
Many of us find our friends and build relationships at work, church, or among relatives. When we have a party, those are the people we invite. When the party runs a little late on a warm summer evening when all of our neighbors have their windows open, and our guests are laughing and singing and some neighbor calls the police to complain, we’re offended. We silently make a vow to get even with every neighbor who does anything to annoy us. We have our rights and have to stand up for them! Right?
That’s what Jesus would do, right? Didn’t He throw the moneylenders out of the temple, His temple? If Jesus could display His righteous anger, shouldn’t it be OK for us to do the same?
Loving Our Neighbors Like JesusWe have discovered there is another way, a way that not only doesn’t get the neighbors upset with us and us mad at the neighbors, but a way that looks a whole lot more like Jesus.
This “other way” begins with getting to know our neighbors.