Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Bad Neighbor

My family has lived at this address for three and a half years yet we hardly know our neighbors.  We do occasionally talk to the sweet lady next door and many of the neighborhood kids make their way to our backyard on nice days.  But we really do not know anyone.  Other than the lady and kids I've already mentioned, I don't even know our neighbors names!  We wave as we drive by, but that is the extent of our relationship.  And I never even thought about it until recently.

The week before Christmas my kids heard sirens in our neighborhood.  We looked out the window and across the street there were two police cars, two ambulances and a fire truck.  We sat in the window "rubber necking" and then we saw someone being carried out on a stretcher.  The kids and I immediately prayed for this person.

I planned that week to take a card and some baked goods over to this neighbor (we've done this to this particular house twice before but never heard back from them, which is fine).  But it was the week of Christmas and I got caught up in all that I had to do before the holiday.  I got caught up in me and honestly forgot all about it.

On the Wednesday after Christmas I happened to look out the window and the street was packed with cars.  When I looked closer, I saw a lot of people dressed up, mostly in black, coming out of the neighbor's house.  My neighbor had died.

My neighbor died and I never did anything about it.  I never took over that card saying I was praying.  I never even prayed, after that first day.  I never mentioned Jesus to this neighbor.  I never invited them to church.  I never asked if I could  help them with anything.  Honestly, I don't even know if it was a man or woman that died and I still haven't made a move since then to connect with the family left behind.

Friends, there are hurting people everywhere.  I don't know if my neighbor was saved or not.  I don't know if they were dealing with physical pain or emotional turmoil.  But I do know that I needed to make a connection and I just didn't.

Friends, I encourage you to make connections and relationships with your neighbors.  I do not believe anything in this life is a coincidence.  God put you and your neighbors in the same neighborhood for a reason.  It may be simply to live by example and pray for them, but you have to do it.  This week make plans to bake some cookies and hand deliver them to a neighbor.  Or invite them in for coffee and just chat.  You never know when you will be blessing that person, leading them to Christ or when it will be their last days on this Earth.

If you'll excuse me, I think I am going to say hi to the neighbor.

Sweet Blessings~


  1. Oh Jenifer, I'm just as guilty! :( Thanks for the much needed encouragement to get out of my comfort zone and self-absorption and reach out to those around me.

    Many blessings!

  2. Jenifer, thank you for sharing this with us. There are very few people we know this mile stretch we live on, really there are only two families we know. Like you, we speak and wave at one another but that is all. You have given each of us an eye opener and I thank you for this,

    Have a great day and blessings to you.

  3. I can certainly relate. We have lived at our current address for about a year and a half. We've politely waved at our neighbors, but haven't had not taken the opportunity to get to "know" them. As I intentionally walk through 2012, I want my family to get to know our neighbors.
    Thank you for this post and challenge, my friend!

  4. I'm so sorry that you didn't make it over for a visit before this tragedy. But don't be too hard on yourself, either!

    Admittedly, I've fallen into the same trap of taking care of my stuff first. We have wonderful neighbors all around us, and we know only one of them.

    Even with several of these neighbors on my mind, I too have allowed myself to say that I will drop later instead of now.

    I'll say a prayer for your neighbor and their family. Thank you for sharing this story with all of us!


  5. Thanks for this frank blog and wise lesson.

  6. Such great encouragement. I only know one neighbor and not that well.

    Love your new look over here too :)

  7. Jenifer,

    Love the new look!!

    This really hit home with me, I have lived in my neighborhood for 10 years and I know only two of my neighbors, and I didn't realize how disconnected I was in my community until I read this post. I would reason it away that people are busy and don't have time I guess I will never find out if I don't reach out to them.

    Blessings to you Jenifer.


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