You know, it was Jesus who said in the Bible, Love your neighbour as you love yourself. So here’s some ideas about loving your neighbour.
How well, for example, do you know the people who live around you in your neighbourhood? It’s amazing. And we can live in a place for year after year, and never really know the people who live next door either side or across the road. So here’s some ideas. For example, a very simple exchange greetings. If you’re friendly with the people that you meet, perhaps in a walk—you go for a walk around the neighbourhood—eventually you’ll learn that there are opportunities to get to know these people.
Start by Being Approachable
So why not make an effort to learn the names of these people, and to speak to them and smile and show interest in them. One of the things that always wins when you’re wanting to meet people is to pass a compliment. You know, a cheerful word can of course still open tremendous doors to relationships in our world. We live in a world that’s very impersonal. So why don’t you compliment the parents on the children or if someone’s out in the garden, looking after the flowers doing the weeding, compliment them on them—or the pets, the pets that the people have got.
I think it’s also helpful to be observant, you know—look around and see what’s going on. Drop in next door with some cake or biscuits. Of course, there’s always the great idea of extending an invitation to your neighbour. Invite a family to a meal or to a barbecue perhaps; and invite a number of people. What about the idea of sharing books or magazines with your neighbour? This is called ‘food for the mind’, you know, and you could find out what their tastes are, what they like reading—offer to lend books or magazines, CDs or videos. And in fact, you could end up with a neighbourhood exchange library, who knows?
There are lots of things that you can do to help people. You know, don’t be surprised if a neighbour agrees to join you. Perhaps you like walking or running or something. Invite the neighbour to come with you and share in some of these activities.
Be Aware of People’s Needs
One of the interesting things too, is to meet the obvious needs. You know, I think the best way to be a good neighbour is to be sensitive to a need that you see. Be alert. For example, an old person who needs transportation—it’s obvious what they need. or perhaps needing a night out or break from the children occasionally—why don’t you offer to babysit at no cost? It’s a great idea.
Ask for help. You know, if you find that you’re having problems in a particular area or need help, ask for help. Sometimes it’s better to receive than to give you know. Another thing that is often a very good thing is neighbourhood activities. You know, everybody has to eat. And I don’t think there are many people who will turn down an invitation for a barbecue as I’ve mentioned. Or perhaps it’s Christmas time to invite your neighbours and of course some streets around do have a special time Christmas. It’s a fun way to get to know people.
There’s also the idea of a neighbourhood play group. If you’ve got small children at home, talk with your neighbours about forming a playgroup, and they could meet at someone’s home or a park area. So get active in a community group or cause—crime prevention groups or something like that. There are many, many other ways where you can participate and find common interests. So I think that really, there are hundreds of ways to meet neighbours depending on how we, how our personalities are, of course, and what time we’ve got.
And if you can’t love these people face to face, a great idea is to start praying for them. Be willing to take the first step and you know, God will help you to do the rest.
Father, we thank you today when someone thanks us and encourages us. And I pray that you’ll help us to encourage one another to live in harmony with each other and with you. We never cease to thank you, Lord; that you are the giver of life itself. Your provision for our personal needs, Lord, is quite overwhelming because you’ve given us life itself. So we thank you for this Lord and pray that you’ll make us some good neighbours. I pray this in Jesus name.