Loving my neighbor doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s not like I dislike my neighbors, but it is difficult to love people you don’t know. Authentically speaking, apathy is my basic feeling toward my neighbors. It is far too easy and comfortable for me to isolate myself in my home. I’m not sure if it is my own struggle with the busyness of life, or feeling relationally spent by the time I see my neighbor as I return home from work, or take out the trash, but God uses my kids to challenge me to better love my neighbors. For my kids it just seems so simple.
“Can Roman stay for dinner?” Abby asks as they play together in our backyard. There is no concern; what are we eating? Did we make enough food for a guest? Does Roman’s family have plans? Did Quinn’s family already prepare their dinner? My adult brain can overcomplicate it, but my kids understand there’s food and we can share.
Abby and Cathy are my heroes in loving our neighbors right now. Abby has been attending AWANAs on Wednesday night, so one Wednesday she just says, “Roman, you wanna come to AWANAs with me?” Such a simple, caring, care-free invitation. He says, “Yes.” Then Cathy is left with figuring out all the details. Do we have room in our car? Do we have an extra booster? Has Roman eaten? Is it ok with his mother to (a) be gone all night at a new place, (b) ride with us, and (c) attend a church function? All issues to which Abby and Roman are joyfully oblivious. Roman is now attending AWANA with Abby regularly, where he sings Bible songs, hears Bible stories, and memorizes Bible verses. This all makes me wonder if I overcomplicate loving my neighbor. Do I allow the messiness of caring for others cause me to miss the opportunity to share the Gospel by raking yards, sharing meals, and talking about my faith? So let’s all grow together as we seek to follow Jesus’ instruction to love others well.
Director of Youth & Young Adults