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That Weird Neighbor

“It is a sin to belittle one’s neighbor.” (Proverbs 14:21, NLT)

Your home address is not an accident. God sovereignly picked your current residence. Whatever you feel about where you are now, God wants you to use the opportunity to reach your neighbors and show them the love of Christ.

Even the weird ones. I remember the first time my wife and I saw bathrobe guy. Well, that’s what we called him until we learned his name. Our house sat on a slight hill, and we could easily view the yards of those around us. Looking out the windows, we could not help seeing over the fence into our neighbor’s yard behind our home.

He wore a bathrobe and picked up sticks around the neighborhood. He would then perform some sort of dancing ritual, wearing the bathrobe in his backyard and creating a fire with the sticks. Much to the amusement of my wife and me, he repeated this scene almost daily. Then my wife felt guilty.

“We should go meet him.”

“And ruin our daily entertainment?” In my heart, I knew she was right.

She baked cookies the next day and proceeded to his home. I waited eagerly for her to return.

“What did he say?”

“His name is Ernie, and he was quite nice.”

“Did you mention the bathrobe dancing?” I had to know.

“No. But I did invite him to church.”

Part of me wondered if he would wear the bathrobe on Sunday. Or if he would perform his ritual dance during the worship music. Through my wife, I learned a lesson. You cannot belittle your neighbors and have a healthy spiritual life. If you do not share Christ’s love outside, then you will not grow spiritually inside.

The mission of God takes us to the ends of the earth, but it also should compel us to love our neighbors. For some, getting on a plane and going on a cross-cultural mission trip is a giant leap. Crossing the property line and knocking on the neighbor’s door can be more challenging for others. Even the weird neighbors need the good news of Jesus! Sometimes the hardest people to reach are right in your backyard.

Paul writes that “Christ’s love controls us” in his second letter to the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 5:14). God has placed you in your home, your place of employment, and your school for a specific reason. He is sovereign. He is in control. Your home address is not an accident. You have neighbors because Jesus wants you to reach them—even the strange ones.

-GNN(Good News Neighbor) Sam Rainer

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