My sweet friend has written a series of devotionals which I am savoring. Today's devotion centered around being a good neighbor--you know I claim to be a good neighbor. I have the shirt!
It was a sweet story of God's redemption and revelation over the time it took to develop a relationship with a neighbor. She discovered a quick chat through the car window and friendly wave across the yard was not really neighboring. Neighboring is taking the time to stop and really listen---really get to know your neighbor.
I did not really begin to form relationships with the ladies at The Well until we began walking together in January. I had heard bits and pieces of their stories in group settings, but the walking together was in a smaller more intimate setting. As with all walking or running groups, we usually ended up one on one or two as we made our circle. Some are faster than others. This is when the real conversation began. I have stopped to listen to their stories and really get to know them. Usually I walk away amazed, almost always laughing, and always thinking about what I have heard.
I now have a different view upon what is going on in America. We have neighbors who are angry--marching in the street angry. My immediate reaction is this is not how you bring about change. This devotional made me stop and think---have I REALLY listened to what is being said? Can I hear these stories without prejudice and accept them as being from the eyes of the beholder? Am I listening? Am I prejudice? Am I spending ANY time trying to bring about change? Or am I stuck once again in my comfort zone? How willing am I to be a good neighbor? It starts with one neighbor---one person~one story. Surely I have the time and energy to hear one story. And thus---change begins.
The devotional ends with this~
Life Giving Encouragement
"When we treasure the stories of others, God opens the eyes of our hearts to rejoice and mourn and to see dividing walls of hostility demolished. In the place of walls are bridges to our good neighbors."
"For the whole law is fulfilled in one word:
'You should love your neighbor as yourself.' "