The Art of Neighboring: The Fear Factor
So many of our fears are "what if's" and "this might happen". It causes us to lose out on wonderful opportunities to build good relationships, and the gospel moves at the speed of relationships. Jesus speaks to this in Luke 7:36-47.
Jesus is reclining at table at the home of Simon the Leper, a man that He has previously healed. The custom of the day was to lay on your side at a low table and have your feet out beside or behind you. It was also normal for others in the neighborhood to just join you, unannounced, even if they were strangers. A woman (labeled "a sinner"), probably a prostitute, came in to the meal and cried on Jesus' feet, wiped the teams with her hair, kissed His feet, and anointed His feet with oil. She poured out a year's worth of wages on His feet!
Verse 39 reads, "Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, 'If this man were a prophet, He would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." Jesus response zeros in as He asks, "Do you see this woman?" He is asking if the Pharisee truly SEES who she is as a person. Jesus forgave the woman's sins because she her "faith has saved you; go in peace."
We must remember that everyone has a story. We must be careful not to see and judge people. We must give them the benefit of the doubt. Jesus is really saying to the Pharisee, "I know you see her, but do you really notice her in a way that honors her?"
When we live in fear, we live in isolation
When we live in love, we live in community
To Discuss Today:
1. Do you really "notice" your neighbors? Are there pattern changes in their routine? Do you know why?
2. When was the last time you were accused of being friends with someone "sketchy"?
3. Go to www.artofneighboring.com and plan to host a block party in the near future.
4. How has this series changed the way you think of your neighbors?