It is a known fact and in my short, but not scientific, survey of asking around, people want good neighbors. Nobody wants to live next to a noisy, nosey, inconsiderate, mean, spiteful, angry, messy neighbor. Oh, but they are out there. Yet, the truth is most all of us want ‘good’ neighbors and desire that neighborly feel where we know those who live around us and they know us. Where people know names, share and receive a helping hand, show and give genuine concern, and swap stories as we chit-chat in the driveway or on the front porch. I know of people who have moved just searching for that good neighbor experience. They want to be in a place where a good neighbor policy is both practiced and expected. So what does it take to be a good neighbor? Let me suggest a few ways found in God’s Word the Bible.
A good neighbor cares and shows some compassion. In answering the question of ‘who is my neighbor’, Jesus told a story of someone who had compassion on another enough to help them in their time of need. The story is called “The Good Samaritan’ Luke 10:29-37. Jesus ends the story challenging us all that good neighbors are compassionate.
Luke 10:36-37 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”
Mercy is compassion and compassion moves us to help. It’s noticing the needs and, if possible, seeking to meet those needs from mowing lawns, to helping with a project, to loaning tools, to taking a moment and asking about their day. It far too easy to be so busy we don’t make or take the time to notice and lend a hand.
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Who can you share a bit of mercy or compassion with today?
There is a major insurance company with a slogan that says, “like a good neighbor…” You probably can finish the sentence as it ends with ‘…is there.’ Yes, a good neighbor is present and responsive with mercy and care, not withholding help.
Proverbs 3:27-28 27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. 28 Do not say to your neighbor, “Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it” – when you have it with you.
Yes, good neighboring takes time, energy, and effort. Most everything worthwhile does. Yet it is well worth it! Study after study has proven that communities where people are known, where help is given, where there is an investment of time and attention, there is a greater fulfillment and joy in life. According to John McKnight and Peter Block in their book, “The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods,” as people seek to connect with their neighbors and be that good neighbor, there is greater sense of security and safety, better health, and more care. The Bible encourages us to be present and be kind, and certainly not to be mean.
Proverbs 3:29-30 29 Do not plan evil against your neighbor, who dwells trustingly beside you. 30 Do not contend with a man for no reason, when he has done you no harm.
So be kind, and not mean or augmentative.
Being a good neighbor is to treat people like you would like to be treated. It’s that ‘golden rule’ we were taught as kids.
Matthew 7:12 So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
The climate of these actions is a love and respect for others
Romans 13:8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.
1 Peter 4:8-9 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
So be that good neighbor and add to the community we live in. See, if we want to create a better world, it’s not going to come through a program, a policy, a proposition, or even a politician. It’s going to come as we act like Jesus and be that good neighbor He challenged us to be. Why not try? You could start a movement on your block that could really make a difference.
Church is a great place to learn and grow at being good neighbors. If you are not already connected to a church, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or one of our branch churches in either Los Alamitos or Garden Grove. All this year we are seeking to learn from the Bible how to live out the love of Jesus and we would love for you to join us. Our website has all the information you would need. www.cypresschurch.net .
Seeking to be good… as a good neighbor along with you,