Getting to Know Your Neighbor

All Campuses  |  Published on July 9, 2017

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The man you see checking his mailbox nightly, the woman you notice tending to her garden, the couple walking their dog each morning–your neighbors. You see them every day (or almost every day), but do you actually know them?

Jesus’ command is clear:

“Love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another.” (John 13:34)

In the book of Matthew, Jesus specifically mentions neighbors:

“He said to him, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and most important command. The second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Loving our neighbors starts with getting to know them. Make this week the week you finally meet your neighbor–someone across the street, next door, or in the unit above you. If you live in an area with no surrounding homes, maybe your neighbor is the cashier at Kroger or the barista at Starbucks. Wherever you are, you have a neighbor. Think of that one person in your community you regularly encounter who you can reach out to for the first time.

Here are four practical steps to get to know them this week:

1. Introduce yourself when you see them outside.

Yes, it’s that simple. Wave, say hi, and then approach them. Shake their hand and tell them who you are and where you live. The conversation does not have to be anything elaborate. Ask them how they like living in the neighborhood. Ask them how their week is going. Let them know you’re happy to meet them and that you’ll see them again soon.

2. Learn their kids’ names and introduce your own.

Children and dogs are two of the quickest ways to break the ice with your neighbors. If you know your neighbor is married and/or has kids, make a point to learn about them. How old are they? Where do they attend school? The next time you’re outside with your own children, introduce them to the adults and the kids. And if you have a social dog, then let Fido say hi to the neighbors during your next walk, too.

3. Look for common ground.

Do they love the Predators as much as you? Do their kids play the same sports as yours? Are they going to the neighborhood block party next week? Are they frequent visitors to the neighborhood pool like you? Find some similar interest that will help you relate to your neighbor and develop conversation around that. You may have more in common than you expected!

4. Connect on social media.

Once you’ve had a few conversations and learned their last names, go ahead and connect with them on social media. Facebook and Instagram are convenient ways to stay in touch–just don’t let them be your only way. Continue to talk to your neighbors on a regular basis, building on your initial conversations and growing your friendship.

“Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his one and only Son into the world so that we might live through him. Love consists in this: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, if God loved us in this way, we also must love one another.” (1 John 4:7-11)

Loving one another should be a natural outpouring of our love for the Lord. Let’s share His love by getting to know our neighbors this week.

Join us Sunday as Pastor Gus Hernandez continues our series, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” Watch previous messages here.

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