I woke up this morning to the sound of a leaf blower just outside my window. I looked out and saw my next door neighbor running his blower on his deck, and all of the leaves were blowing all over my backyard. I got angry. I couldn't believe he was being so blatant about it. I have no quarrel with my neighbor, and though we've always been friendly, we've never had a conversation that lasted more than 30 seconds. He and his family do not talk with any of our neighbors, and they've lived here for five years. The husband and wife have three sons, one of which is now driving, but they never come outside or mix and play with any of the other kids in the neighborhood. The only time I ever even see them is when they come out and get into or out of their cars.
So I was angry. I was tempted to confront him. Being the introvert that I am, I just watched. And then he finished the deck, and he came over to my yard and blew all of the leaves back over into his yard. And I was mad at myself for assuming he didn't know what he was doing. And I was even more angry that I wasn't a better neighbor. I should talk to them when I see them. I should invite them over. I should exhibit the qualities that Christ teaches us. Love your neighbor. How could I call myself a Christ-follower if I don't do as Christ asks?
Saturday night we had a guest speaker at our church, Grace Community: Dr. Nabeel Qureshi. Dr. Qureshi is a former devout Muslim who was convinced of the truth of the Gospel through historical reasoning and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion, he has dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating. He was an incredible speaker, and something he said made me think about my neighbors, who are Muslims. He said that Muslims, especially those who come to America from other nations, are taught that Americans are selfish and promiscuous, and since America is thought of as a Christian nation, they assume that Christians are the same way. So they are defensive and don't attempt to mix in with anyone but those of their own nationalities and religion. He also spoke of his own conversion, and how hard it was at first to discover the truth of the Gospel in his reading and studying the Bible, and that the Quran ended up being untruthful in its statements about Christianity, particularly where it says that Jesus is not God, and did not die on the cross or raise from the dead, all of which are the basis of Christianity. I enjoyed Dr. Qureshi's presentation.
I also thought about ways I might make inroads in my relationship with my neighbors. I need to show them I am not like their likely assumption of what a Christian is like. I need to speak with them and care about them, and show them Christ-like love. They really are worth it. And it could make quite a difference in my relationship with them.
Have a great evening, everyone!