Being A Good Neighbor Day 3 – Supporting a Neighbor in Need
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” (Philippians 2:4, ESV)
“Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” (Hebrews 13:16, ESV)
“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, ESV)
The Good Samaritan is one example Jesus gave of being a neighbor to someone in need. When he came along and saw the man who was beaten and bloodied and lying in a ditch, his heart was moved with compassion and he did everything possible to help the man. He didn’t meet just some of the wounded man’s needs—he met all of them. In the same way, Jesus asks us to help those in need within our own communities, circle of friends, family and acquaintances.
I’m often like the two men who passed the wounded man and kept going, busy and distracted with their own affairs in life. “Someone else will help them,” I reason to myself. But seeing a need and refusing to step in with whatever means I have to help is sin. And what is the negative behavioral pattern behind this excuse? Selfishness. We may reason that we don’t have the resources to fill a need. Or we may give ourselves a pass because we are too busy at the moment and have a schedule to keep. Or maybe we simply don’t want to involve ourselves in other people’s problems. Whatever our reasoning, our excuses reveal our own selfish nature.
In order to be a good neighbor, we need to keep our eyes and hands open. Being a discerner is especially valuable if we are to recognize the needs of others. Not everyone is openly “lying in the ditch,” so to speak. Many quietly suffer through their trials and disappointments, and if we aren’t discerning we may never notice. Sometimes we may notice but fail to help because the person doesn’t ask for it. A good neighbor will offer help and look for ways to provide without even being asked.
Sometimes, the best way to support someone in need is to just be there for them when their life takes a difficult turn. Being a good listener is an invaluable help to many who are confused and hurting. Being a present help lets someone know you’re available, you care, and they aren’t alone. For me, those “neighbors” have always been most welcomed. When we are in the middle of a personal storm, feeling alone can be terrifying. So be there to support the people you know who are hurting; it will mean so much.
There are many ways we can be a good neighbor to those in our community. We can prepare food for them, chat over coffee, send flowers, send a quick text to check in, give a lonely person a phone call or stop by for a visit, send financial support, offer to babysit or grocery shop, or offer company and conversation during a neighborhood walk. These are just a few examples of how we can show our neighborly love and support. When we do this for those who are not believers, we open doors to share the gospel and model the love of Christ in a way they may never have seen before.
Being a good neighbor and being a nosy neighbor are not the same. Someone who steps in to get the details and even share them with others is not a good neighbor. Our support, concern and care should be motivated by the love of Christ—nothing else. When love is the motivator, we can be certain that our efforts will be far more effective. May we allow God to open our eyes to the needs of those around us, and be prompted by love to step in and be a good neighbor.