There is a classical biblical story where some teachers of the law are up to their usual tricks; trying to trap and discredit Jesus’ teaching and authority. However, Jesus does what he does best and out-maneuvers the ‘best and brightest.’ I’m referring to the parable of the Good Samaritan. In Luke, Jesus tells this story to further clarify the ethical summary of the entire Old Testament, which is, “To love the Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:25-37). He then proceeds to tell the Good Samaritan story to define what it means to be a ‘neighbor.’ Ok, so Jesus pretty much acknowledges everyone who we find in need could qualify as our neighbor. Since Community Life actually ministers to our literal apartment neighbors, I want to give some applications about why loving our actual, physical next door apartment neighbor is important! Here we go…
- Ongoing Relationships: With you actual neighbor, it’s important to love them, because they’re not going anywhere (for a while at least), so you’re going to have multiple occasions to develop a better relationship by your love.
- Greater Needs: Statistically speaking, people who live in apartments are likely to be in a life stage where they could use some extra care: single parents, transients, foreigners, elderly, divorced, first-time living alone, etc…
- Neighborhood Peacemaker: When you’re known as the friendly one in your apartment community, you may get opportunities to help reconcile and reunite neighbors who have differences.
- Pause, Heart-Time Out: Loving our actual, next door apartment neighbor means we are going to be challenged to focus on genuinely caring for people, because we’ll be challenged to shift our own lives, unexpectedly, since we never know when we may see our neighbor or when they’ll need our help.
- Teaching and Discipleship Opportunities: You’ll get many teaching and discipleship opportunities with both Christian and non-Christians. You’ll love your neighbor in the name of Jesus and tell other Christians about your service.
- Many Opportunities for Service: It’s important to develop an ongoing love for our next door apartment neighbors, because if we do, we’ll get many opportunities to serve and love, because we have so many neighbors. This will make our love impact great!
- Faith and Love Maturity : Loving your next door apartment neighbor will help develop a consistent heart of service, which is crucial to faith maturity.
- Diversity Matters: By loving your next door apartment neighbors, you’ll be reminded how big, diverse, complex, and interesting the world really is due to understanding people’s circumstances
- Community Development and Participation: We call it Asset Based Community Development, but essentially when you love your next door apartment neighbor, you give every neighbor the chance to understand and use their talents, time and treasures (assets) to help make the community a sustainably better place to live for everyone else in the complex.