Thursday, January 06, 2005


Love Thy Neighbor [Leviticus 19:18]

Connie Cavanaugh relates how her sister, during a dozen moves, practiced the neighborly custom of introducing herself to her new neighbors. She was also faithful in welcoming other newcomers.

During one rather hectic recent move, Lisa neglected meeting her new neighbors. She rationalized that it was just a rental house and that she could do better when they moved into their permanent home. Besides, there was only one neighbor anyway ... “the big, scruffy fellow ... who was always puttering in his yard in baggy overalls.” His wife was housebound with a newborn.

Winter hit with a vengeance. One really bad December day, her husband at the office, Lisa was just barely able to get the kids off to school.

Finding herself with a free moment she sat down to enjoy a second cup of coffee and scan the morning paper. The headlines reported a very horrifying and graphic story of home invasion. The victim, a woman home alone, was beaten and robbed. Shaken, Lisa prayed for the woman and her family.

Suddenly, she heard footfalls on the porch; the doorbell rang. Assuming it was her sister frozen in the Arctic weather, she rushed to the door and flung it open.

Filling the doorway was a giant stranger, handsomely dressed and smelling of cologne. “My car won’t start. Can you give me a boost?” he thundered. Lisa mind flashed to this morning’s headline, remembering the criminal had used a ruse to gain entry. She grew lightheaded.
She said something about not having cables. He responded, “I’ve got my own. I just need your car. Give me the keys, I’ll do it myself.” He stepped through the open door, smirking and acting oddly familiar.

Grasping at straws she blurted out, “Ask the guy next door; he’s a landscaper ... he’s always hanging around the house. And he’s very big!” The latter just for insurance.

“That house?” the stranger asked, looking over his shoulder.

“Right there,” Lisa trembled.

“Ask the guy who lives there?” The brute mocked, as if he didn’t understand the first time.

“Yes!” She whined emphatically. “I’m sure he’s home.”

To which the monster retorted, “But, Lisa, I am that guy!”

We need to get to know neighbors before we love them.

[Connie Cavanaugh, “The thug next door;” On Mission, a publication of the North American Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention; Vol. 2, No. 3, July-August 1999, 29]

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