What does an old man out walking his dog, an elementary school kid riding his bike, and a father mowing his lawn have in common? Chances are they are all your neighbors. Unless you live in a very rural area or have a high wall around your property, you likely live ridiculously close to a lot of people. These people come from all walks of life, have different beliefs, make up different races, and all have very different stories.
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While you may get to choose your neighborhood, you sure don’t get to choose your neighbors. You find out about those after you move in. Being on bad terms with your neighbor can make your life frustrating, day after day. But taking the time to establish good terms with your neighbors has numerous benefits. The community will be friendlier, the neighborhood safer, and the area a more delightful and more comfortable place to live.
We are taught from a young age “we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.” But how do we really love our neighbors? It’s easy to say this, but in practice, this is much more difficult. Here at Uncommen, we believe that Jesus was the perfect example of a good neighbor. In being good neighbors, we are positioned to touch others with the truth and power of the neighbor-loving gospel.
Here are some practical tips on ways you can be an Uncommen neighbor.
Learn some basics: Learn their name. While this may sound very basic, it’s incredible how little we really know about the people that live right next door to us. Start with their name. Then where they came from, how long they have been living there, etc. While these questions are easiest done when you first move in or when they move in, maybe it’s time to ask those same questions to the family you share a fence with for the last 5+ years.
Be hospitable: Invite your neighbor over for a cookout/potluck. Offer them cookies. Get to know their kids. Borrow something from them. There is nothing that builds community like sharing tools. Just remember to return it. If they’re having car trouble, offer to drive them to work or make a grocery store run.
Serve them: Let them know you can help them cut the grass or grab their mail when they are out of town. Let them know your door is always open if they need anything. Get creative here, but also know the personal boundaries.
If these things sound difficult, that’s great because they should be. The gospel calls us to sacrifice and to love your neighbor as yourself doesn’t mean waving at them every once and a while. A Christian life is a sacrificial life. Show Jesus in the way that you act and serve the people around you.
Uncommen Challenge: Take a step this week to build a closer relationship with your neighbors. Don’t have neighbors? Do the same with co-workers or the people nearest to you that you don’t have a deep connection with.
Bible Verse: Romans 15:2 “Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”
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