Try Liking Your Neighbor – Whatever It Takes?
Key Bible Verse: “Love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:18
Bonus Reading: 1 John 4:19-21
Not long after we moved into our first house in California, Janie and I picked up on tension between a couple of neighbors. One, an outspoken churchgoer, told me, “We’re committed to fulfilling the Great Commission. We go door to door … whatever it takes to win souls.”
The other neighbor was unchurched. As we were both working in our yards, he ventured, “Say, Steve, aren’t you a pastor?”
He then unfolded a history of numerous conflicts over small issues with this neighbor and his family, whom he’d never understood. He perceived them as “trying to make us feel bad because we aren’t like them.”
“We just got a letter from his attorney,” he continued, “threatening to sue if we don’t trim a tree that borders his yard. Why didn’t he just come over and ask me to take care of the tree? I was getting ready to trim that tree until this letter arrived. But now,” he said with a wink, “there’s no way I’m going to do anything until he forces me. I’ll gladly go to court just so I can have a story to tell about being sued by Christians over an orange tree.”
“I guess sometimes Christians love us,” he concluded, shaking his head, “—they just don’t like us.”
—Steve Sjogren in Changing the World Through Kindness
My Response: What opportunity to love has God placed in my own backyard?
Adapted from Changing the World Through Kindness (Regal, 2005)