Love Thy Neighbor — Even the Ones Who Live Next Door
We had a Sunday school lesson recently about the importance of loving our neighbor, which got me thinking. Do I really love my "neighbors" as I love myself? Can my neighbors tell that I'm a servant of the Lord by how I act?
We bought our house a year and a half ago. When we first moved in, most of our neighbors in the surrounding houses stopped by to talk to us, feeling us out and getting our back story. Then, we'd waved to each other whenever we passed by. When we got our dog, we started seeing a lot more of our neighbors on a regular basis since we walk him a couple times a day.
There are these two neighbors who live across the street from each other a couple doors down from us. They are best friends, and they have kids who are the same age and are always outside in each other's yards. At first, these women were super friendly to me, acknowledging my dog and me, calling out our names and waving.
Then one day, there was an incident with my dog and another dog where I ended up tripping and being dragged, resulting in a few superficial scrapes. Those women were standing across the street from where this incident happened, and after I stood up with blood dripping down my arm and leg, they acted as if they hadn't noticed. Since then, they have ignored me, turning the other way when I walk by or flat-out snubbing me.
At first, they ignored my smiles and waves, so I stopped doing it. On a rare occasion, they acknowledge my dog but never me. They are still friendly to my husband when he's not with me, and their husbands are friendly to me. I don't understand what I did. Now, every time I pass their houses and see them outside (which is a few times a week), I get anxious, trying to figure out how to show them that their snubbing doesn't bother me. Or I try to act like I don't see them. Sometimes the anxiety turns my stomach into knots.
The Sunday school lesson made me realize that by doing that I'm not loving my neighbor; I'm being just like them. I'm harboring negative feelings, and that's not what Jesus taught me to do. I can go back to smiling at them or giving them a quick wave. And who knows. Maybe they will come around and smile or wave back. But even if they continue to ignore me, I need to be like Jesus and love them no matter what. If I'm doing what God told me to do, then there's no need for any anxiety.
Summer Reading Challenge Daily Assignment
1 Nephi 9-12