Over the last few days, I have watched my girls decorate and sign Valentine’s cards for all of their classmates. It seems like a different lifetime that I did that same thing in my elementary school.
And in some ways, I am thankful that it was a lifetime ago.
I never was big into the dating scene. I would find one girl and stick with her for a few years. Along the same lines, I was never really into the “I-like-you…Do-you-like-me…check-yes-or-no” scene. It was too risky. I never wanted to stick my neck out very far because I did not want to deal with rejection.
Honestly, I do not know that rejection gets much easier as an adult. Apparently, some people could care less about rejection, so they go into the sales business. But, for all of us non-sales types, rejection is still no fun.
When we were kids, we were afraid of being rejected by a prom date; we were scared we might get cut from a sports team or rejected by the “cool” kids. As adults, those fears may subside, but we still worry what our co-workers will think about our religious views. We worry about invading our neighbor’s space…or…we worry about them invading our space.
Jesus and Valentine’s Day
But, Jesus gave us some clear directives about the way we interact with our “neighbors.” Regardless of their proximity to our homes, Jesus said that we should love the people around us.
I would prefer to be cordial to the people around me; I would like to keep the peace with the people around me. But, Jesus indicates that as we imitate Him, those options aren’t sufficient.
Jesus compels us to proactively love our neighbors. He gives pretty strong hints at this through His story about the Good Samaritan and through His actions toward us. He doesn’t just want us to keep the peace; He wants us to engage in loving.
I don’t know that I am going to sit down and write out Valentine’s cards to all of my neighbors. That might get weird. But, I have been thinking about ways that we could use Valentine’s Day to proactively love those around us (as much as we love ourselves).
I am going to list a few of my thoughts here, but I would love to hear yours through the comments below.
How You Can Love Your Neighbor
Here are some of my thoughts:
- Invite some neighbors that you don’t know well over for dinner
- Host a block BBQ and invite others to participate by bringing food items
- Take initiative. If you see a neighbor working in the yard, offer to help. If you see a neighbor checking their mail or taking out the trash, take the time to walk over and speak.
- Bake cookies and share them with those who live around you.
- When you take baked goods to a neighbor, offer them a card with your name and number on it, telling them to call anytime they have a need.
- Actively pray for your neighbors…and let them know that you are praying for them.
- Buy them a gift card to a local restaurant and tell them that you are grateful to have them as neighbors.
- Hang a banner in your front yard stating, “We love our neighbors.” (Just kidding.)
So what are your thoughts? How can we intentionally love our neighbors on Valentine’s Day?
For more ideas, see “8 Easy Ways to Be Missional” by Jonathan Dodson.