Before we left Georgia, our neighbor called me over to his John Deere tractor and wished us well on our move. During this conversation he said something that he intended as a compliment but was received as anything but.
He said, “I’m gonna miss you guys. You were good neighbors. You never bothered me and I never even new you were here” (my paraphrase). He went on to tell me how he lives alone (he’s in his 70’s) and was recently in an accident. He also told me that, “these last few months have been pretty tough.” But at least he had a neighbor that never bothered him…
I’m sick about that. How could we live next to a man… a lonely man… a man in need… and live in such a way that he didn’t even know we were there.
Sure we were busy and traveled more than we’ve ever traveled in our lives. Sure we were only there for one year. Sure I thought he was a grumpy old man who didn’t need anybody (based on one conversation I had with him). Sure I was busy working on getting Walls Down church started. Yea… all those “sure’s” sound like a giant gas bubble exploding when I hear him say, “You never bothered me. I never even knew you were here.”
The distinctive mark of a follower of Christ is how we love our neighbors… I didn’t do so well here.