Without asking anyone else who lives with you, name the people who live on either side of your house. First and last names, please. What about the people who live behind you and across the street? Of the nine houses closest to you, how many neighbors can you name? Of those people you just named, can you tell me what they do for a living? What is the name of there pets and children? Where do they vacation? Hobbies? About how old are they? Ok, now take it deeper. What are there dreams for the future, what are there hopes for there children? Are they struggling with anything? What makes them happy?
Christianity 101 is very simple, repeatedly stated over and over in the bible by Jesus and those who know him:
He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind' ; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' "
This is kindergarten level stuff. Love God and love your neighbor. Later on Jesus explains who is your neighbor (everyone!) and all the sudden the waters get muddied, so lets stay with the most literal interpretation of this commandment and focus on those who live physically closest to us.
Neighbors are funny things. Friends you can choose and you can even make choices in who you serve but you have very little say about who lives next door, and maybe that was Jesus point. Neighbors can be loud, obnoxious, messy and awkward but that doesn't mean we are off the hook of showing them God's love.
As the great 90's band once sang "love is a verb". An action word. How are you doing in Christianity 101? Loving God is easy, He gave everything for us. Loving friends, family, and those we choose isn't so bad either. But neighbors? Can you really love someone if you don't know there name?