Dear Neighbor, I Owe You Nothing

January 31, 2017

Dear Neighbor,

You are the person who's lawn looks a whole lot better compared to mine. You are the person who I brush shoulders with on the street. You are the student typing away in this busy coffee shop. You are the single mom who's kids insists on running instead of walking. You are church goer who I fear when the pastor says "hey, get up and shake someone's hand". You are the friend who I have not talked to in ages. You are my actual best friend. You are walking the same path as me. You are my neighbor.

I owe you nothing but love -- love and kindness. 

I apologize for not making eye contact with you. I apologize for the lack of a sincere smile. I am sorry for neglecting to tell you about Christ by putting my own security first. I am sorry for not being a neighbor to you.

I apologize for not using my voice to speak truth. The truth that you are the neighbor that I am suppose to be loving on not fearing. I keep turning away and running from the beaten path that we both travel. I make excuses. As a Christian, I am called to love not to turn away. I am called to embrace not to reject. I am called to welcome you with open arms. Instead, I fear actual connection. I fear rejection. I fear making the first move. 

Neighbor, have mercy on me for I am still learning. I am still learning to choose love instead of fear. I am starting with a smile. I don't know what you are going through, but I sure would love to take your hand and go through it with you. Your slumped shoulders say it all. I want you to know that I see you. I see your brokenness. Most importantly, Christ sees the broken shambles that surround you. You are so worthy and trust me, wanted. I see your bloodshot eyes. I see the dark circles that have to what seemed drawn it's permanent marker on you. You are not alone. I want to be your neighbor who loves, who cares, who is kind, who shakes your hand, who gives you a huge tackle hug, who shows you the love that Christ has shown me. 

Anxiety. Depression. Grief. Divorce. Mental Illness. Physical Illness. Loneliness. Struggling with porn. Struggling with Addiction,

I know you are going through something, but I continue to make excuses. I step backwards instead of forwards in our relationship. I choose to sip my coffee and burn my tongue a million times instead of actually making conversation. You would think I would want to save my taste buds BUT APPARENTLY NOT (note: if there is still steam coming from your coffee cup, most likely, it is not safe enough to risk drinking).

I want to be all in. I want to be the modern day Ruth. Mmm!! Ruth has to be in my top favorites for Bible books. 

Ruth 1: 16-17 // "But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord deal with me, be it ever so severely,if even death separates you and me.” 
Ruth was insistent!! Though she was going through deep waters, she knew she was called to love on Naomi. She knew she was being called to be a friend, a neighbor, and take up the burdens of Naomi. Her selfless love created a relationship that had Jesus' kindness written all over it. She knew she was called to more than just to herself. She did not sulk in her own darkness but chose to seek light through loving on others -- loving on Naomi.

Neighbor, you are not imprisoned to loneliness, and I am sorry I have made you feel as if you were. My calling is to walk with you through the dark and bitter days and run with you through the bright and sparkly ones. Breathe, sweet friend. Inhale. Do not become trapped inside your own breathe. Fill your lungs with the sweet song that we are given daily -- grace, hope. I may be a stranger to you or a close friend. Either way, I hope to nudge you a little closer to seek those bright and sparkly days. Heck, I may even push you. Aha. Just maybe.

As you get home from a long, crappy day, please remember that our God is good. Yeah, yeah. You have probably been told that phrase a great lot of times. How can He be good when my life is falling to pieces? How can He be good when I have work piled up to the ceiling? How can He be good when I am living in a single parent home? How can He be good when my dad just passed away? How can He be good when I got the bad results from the doctor? How can He be good when my best friend and I just had a huge fight? How can He be good when my husband left me and my three kids? How can He be good when my church won't even accept me? 

How is God still good through this?

Psalm 34:4-7 // "I sought the Lord, and Heard me, and delivered me from all my fears. They looked to Him and were radiant, and their faces were not ashamed. This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them."

He is still good, because He is greater than your circumstance. He is so much bigger than your circumstance. He is so much Higher. He hears you. He hears us. No matter what. He hears you. He is FOR YOU. When God is for us, HECK NOTHING CAN BE AGAINST US. No crappy day can stomp over Christ (cue the "hallelujahs" in the pews). Our God saves. God does not discriminate in His goodness. He takes you and wraps you up in the huge embrace. He takes your shame, your sorrow, your grief, your loneliness. He takes you for who you are. I pray that I emulate Christ in that way. I pray that I can show you that same acceptance, that same grace. I want to hear you. I want to meet your tear-stained eyes. 

I hope the next time I see you that I am not pretending to do something on my phone while I am really playing a really dorky pet grooming game. I hope the next time I see you that I do not put my nose up in the air and pretend not to see you. I hope the next time I see you I have grace and mercy -- the grace and mercy that my sweet Heavenly Father shows me every single day. I hope that I am a like one of those random kiddos who does not fear anything -- who will come up to you with a huge, cheesy grin hanging from my face.
Romans 13:8 // "Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law".
All I owe you is love. I owe you a hand shake. I owe you eye contact. I owe you a compliment. I owe you a smile. I probably owe you some fries or some kind of milk shake. I owe you my sincere heart and real actions of love. My prayer is that I will be brave. I will step up and be your neighbor. I pray that I will seek your needs before mine. My comfort zone is supposed to stepped over, and I hope that I kind of erase the worldly thought that this zone I am in should be stayed in. I pray that the life I live radiates the love of Christ. You are my neighbor as well as my sister or my brother in Christ. You have purpose. You belong. I hope I tell you that in person.

 Hugging you tightly,

Your Neighbor

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