how's my neighbor?
March 14, 2011

Greetings

By: Melinda Perry [Marshalltown, IA]

“Is this the love you show your friend?”
2 Samuel 16:17a (NIV)

“Good.” That’s all I ever hear when I ask people, “How are you?” It’s the common, casual greeting: “Hey, how are you?” “Good.”

If you’re accusing me of exaggerating, you’re right. Sometimes people say “fine” or “just peachy.”

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The worst part is that I allow “good” to be their answer. Sometimes I allow it to be my own.

Why? Don’t we want people to know how we really are? Do we not dare to show them our weakness, pain, hurt, or fatigue? Don’t we want to know how other people are doing? Can’t we take a minute to hear their worries, stresses, heartaches, or frustrations?

How shallow we allow our relationships to be. What if we took time to listen to our neighbors explain why they are “good.” Perhaps they have a great story, a wonderful joke, or an encouraging word they would be willing to tell if we would simply ask—and listen.


Get Below the Surface: Take time to move beyond a casual greeting by asking a second question, such as “No, really, how are you?” or “What has made your day?” Listen to the stories, and watch your relationships grow.


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Journal

How do you love your neighbors? Begin a list. “Loving neighbors means comforting them, encouraging them in faith, . . .” Add to the list each day this week. Then each week, choose an item from your list to practice.

how's my neighbor?

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