Love your neighbor

Mark 12:31 is an all too familiar verse. It is quoted by Christians and non-Christians alike.

The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31 ESV

The Inventor had a good point the other day. What happens if you don’t love yourself? How do you know how to love your neighbor then?

Before I get all kinds of parenting advice and people concerned about my daughter: I know the background of this statement and why she asked this question. We are working on this appropriately.

As my children often do, she got me thinking. How do you love your neighbor?

 

neighbor

OpenClips / Pixabay

We live on a dead end street with 3 houses. That’s it. We don’t have many neighbors and while we have lived here for almost 9 years, we are surrounded by rentals. We have had several different neighbors over the years.

We’ve had that quiet neighbor who just comes and goes and you never see them otherwise–sometimes we’re that neighbor too. We’ve had that neighbor who we watched closely and made sure everything is locked up tight. We’ve had that neighbor where I let my children go in their house to play with their kids and they are welcome here.

I’m not an expert on neighbors by far, but I have experienced many different types. Sometimes they are so hard to love, other times they make it simple.

I have a mental list of different and sometimes unique ways to share the love in the neighborhood:

 

Share the work.

We have a shared front yard with one of our neighbors. We don’t really share it, but they touch each other. Instead of creating that invisible property line, we share the work. If The Husband is mowing or watering our lawn, we take care of theirs. They tend to do the same.

 

During the winter it is the same with snow shoveling. Whoever gets out there first tends to shovel the entire walk. This is not one of those ‘procrastinate and hope your neighbor does it for you’ situations. It is an honest sharing between neighbors.

It is infectious too. Now, the person who lives in the 3rd house participates too. If you’re doing one yard, you do all 3.It doesn’t matter when we get new neighbors now. It is a part of the community and they pick up on it quickly.

 

Share the food.

I’m the recipient of this more often than the giver. Both my current neighbors have green thumbs, mine is as black as a sharpie. They share their garden leftovers with me. The only thing I have to offer back is a few leaves of fresh chocolate mint.With food allergies and diet considerations, we don’t often share baked goods, but every summer the fresh produce abounds.

 

Watch the kids.

Between our 3 houses, there are 8 children upper elementary & middle school aged. That means in the afternoons and on the weekends they are all outside playing. We don’t parent the others’ children, however we all keep an eye out for usual things.

 

Ignore the annoyances

Starting up the table saw at 9 PM on a weeknight can be annoying when that is your bed time. It would be easy to go out and cause a scene. It would also be all to easy to start the lawn mower at 7 AM on a weekend. What good does that do? It only creates more issues. Unless it is a true problem, ignore the little things–just as you would do if someone in your own house annoyed you.

 

Listen–but don’t gossip.

Once, my neighbor was going through some personal trials. She needed someone to talk to and sometimes she would vent while we were in the front lawn. We’re just neighbors and acquaintances, not someone I would consider a friend in that sense, but she shared anyways. I was there to listen and we helped where we could, but that is it.

I could have told others of her story and she may never have known since we don’t have a common social circle but that wouldn’t be appropriate. It would have been gossip.Not only would it have been gossip, but had it gotten back to her it would have made me a bad neighbor. To love my neighbor means I should treat them right. I would not want anyone sharing my business without my consent, gossiping about me as they wish, so I in turn should not do it either.

 

neighbor fence

geralt / Pixabay

 

Keep up the fences.

Sometimes it is best if you keep your space from your neighbor. You don’t get to pick them like you pick your friends. When you move in, you might know what kind of neighborhood it is, but you don’t interview neighbors. When we have difficult neighbors, we give a smile and wave as we walk past each other, and are thankful for our fences.

 

Living in Green Grass is being content where you are. It makes it a lot easier to be content if those around you are not creating chaos. How you treat others has a big impact on how they treat you.

What are some things you do for your neighbors?

~Crystal

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