What Keeps Us from Loving the People Next Door and Across the Street?

images (14)I’ve been reading a book lately that often has me slowly exhaling as I nod my head up and own.  I nod my head because I agree and I exhale slowly because I know I’m not doing what the book prescribes.  The book is called The Art of Neighboring: Building Genuine Relationships Right Outside Your Door by Jay Pathak and Dave Runyon.  The concept of the book is simple: we have a divine responsibility to obey the second great commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, with our actual neighbors; those who live next door, across the street, and around the corner.  Many of us Christians do this well with those who are a part of our church or our clique inside the church, but let’s face it, we have  dropped the ball countless times with those who live closest to us.

One of the reasons for this is found in a sentence I read last night: “…it’s easy to make assumptions about other people when you don’t really know anything about them.”  That’s probably not something new and profound for you, but it’s something I needed to read.

As we see our neighbors out mowing their grass, putting the kids in the van, tinkering around in the garage, or taking their dogs for a walk, we interpret what we see.  But the problem is that what we see provides very little information about who our neighbors really are.  Add to that our tendency to think the worst of people and you’ve got a recipe for a safe, independent, yet ungodly way of living.

Church, if we will take the time to engage our neighbors in real conversation, then we will discover that many of the assumptions which keep us from having relationships with them, will fly right out the window.  So, today, will you pray and ask God for the grace and courage to interact with your actual neighbors and then make a plan for how to do this?  I pray so…for you and for me.

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About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

One response to “What Keeps Us from Loving the People Next Door and Across the Street?

  • The Grace of Guilt | From Pew to Practice

    […] In yesterday’s post, I wrote about one of the things that can keep us from loving the people who live next door and across the street from us.  As I thought about why I wrote that post, I realized that it was, in part, due to the guilt I feel in not reaching out to the people in my neighborhood.  Perhaps, if you read the post, you had similar feelings. […]

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