Know your neighbor?
A major sickness in the American church is a lack of relationship. Not only do we fake it in 'relationship' with other believers, we rarely take the time or care to know the people around us. Justin Taylor has quoted this story from a book:
"One of our community group coaches went to visit a community group a while back, and found this tendency at work.
"It was a newer group at a campus that had recently launched, and the group members were eager to do something big and evangelistic. They wanted to coordinate a fall festival or cookout at the campus, inviting the neighborhood around the church to attend. The coach list
ened, nodding, and finally interrupted.
“These are all great ideas, but let me ask you something. What’s the guy’s name in the house next door?”
There was a long and awkward pause. Finally the group leader spoke up. “Uh, I’m not sure.”
“How ’bout across the street?” the coach asked."
This reminded me of the old book The Gospel Blimp.
I have to admit, we know the names of many of our neighbors but little else about them. And the people we share the most property line with are unknown to us despite best attempts. I don't think my family is alone in missing the 'neighbors' around us. Christ certainly calls us to something different but the devil wants nothing more than a need cloistered community of "Christians" that keep to themselves. We should be know for our relationships not only with other believers but with the people we encounter or should encounter every day.
And we don't do this to pat ourselves on the back or check another moral good deed off our list, we do it because we have been cared for by our savior and we desire for others to witness and experience the same care.