Neighbor killers are part of everyday life. Are they keeping you from your Neighbors? If you want to figure out Who IS my neighbor? then you need to know.
We have to make contact with our neighbors before we can actively care for them. Trouble is ... those of us who live in "developed"countries have worked really hard at finding ways to avoid that contact. Our quest for efficiency, privacy, and leisure has insulated us and made it easy to stay unattached. After all, contact can be messy. Would you admit to falling into "neighbor avoidance" tactics? It's not pretty, but I admit I have. Most of us haven't developed new skills to make contact in the new normal filled with technology and separated by fences and security systems and photographed by Google street view.
Garage door openers are neighbor killers. I just timed how long it takes me to push the button, wait for the garage door to open, back in, and let the door close again. 37 seconds. The neighbor next door didn't even have time to pull the curtains back. And I did all this without caffeine. This efficient, time saving device crushes contact with Neighbors near us.
Just let the Mission Impossible theme song play in your head as you push, drive, push, and disembark. It feels like an intentional plot to avoid Neighbor contact, but it's really just a sad side effect. If we aren't careful, we move from desiring efficiency to despising our Neighbors. We may hope they don't see us, stop us, or want to talk to us. Our desire to control our time may invite an attitude that despises anyone who could stop us during the 37 seconds it takes to disappear.
Whoever despises his neighbor is a sinner, but blessed is he who is generous to the poor. Do they not go astray who devise evil? Those who devise good meet steadfast love and faithfulness. (Prov. 14:21-22)
Now I'm not saying you shouldn't have a garage or a door opener or caffeine. I'm saying that being aware of our habits and how they change life with our Neighbors helps us OVERCOME the KILLERS. Instead of letting our control device (aka garage door opener) call the shots, we can be generous with our time and attention and "devise good" for our Neighbor. The bonus is that we experience God's faithful love when we do good to others, and that's even better than a garage door opener.
Tomorrow I want to encourage you to use something you already have as an overcomer to this menace. After all, when it comes to neighbors and Neighbors, we've been challenged:
"Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor" (1 Cor. 10:24).
Until then, I dare you to time yourself and see how long it takes to disappear inside your house. And if you are blessed not to have a garage, here's permission to be a momentary "creeper" and count while someone else pulls into theirs or just parks and goes inside their house. :) But you'll have to be fast. Phantom Neighbors pull in and disappear before you ever even see their face, know their name, or catch a glimpse of why you should care.
Tomorrow ... the overcomer!