I love the neighborhood we live in. I think that this is important.

When Jesus talked about loving our neighbor, He gave us a tangible place to start and focus our love and blessing.

Our neighborhood is incredibly diverse and very active at almost all hours of the day. I’ve heard kids playing at 1:30am. I hear four or five languages when I walk down the street. In the square across the street there are groups of people hanging out that represent 3 continents. There are shop owners who have been here for what seems to be forever. The lady at the bakery across the street has just come home from a long holiday and it’s been cool to see how people are glad that she’s back. (After having her bread and sweets, I know why they are glad!) I like that people in our neighborhood recognize and greet us now. I like that I run into people who know my name.

I’m glad that we are making this place our home. I like that I feel like I’m in a village even though in reality I’m in the middle of an urban center of over 1.5 million people.

There are things that I don’t like about my neighborhood too…I don’t like that trash is collected at 1:30am. I don’t like that there are groups of teenagers that smoke hash in the square where my daughter plays during the day. I don’t like seeing people trying to steal from the shop across the street. I don’t like that people sell drugs around the corner. I don’t like that I often see purses that are abandoned on the ground after a thief has picked their way though the contents. I don’t like that there are times that I feel like I’m the target for stealing from! I don’t like that there are bicycle skeletons laying under bike racks after being picked at by human vultures.

But I’m glad to be making this place my home. Jesus talked about if we only love those who love us: those who make our life easier, better, more peaceful, then what credit is that to us? It’s love to the dealers, the thieves, the noisy, the irritating, the litterers, the bullies that test my faith. And testing it does…But it is the testing that grows me up to be who God intends for me to be: a conduit of His blessing and bringer of good news.

But I love my neighborhood. This place is my home. As a speaker I heard once say, “As the neighborhood goes…so I go.” This is the heart of living among a people. Being committed to a people. Being committed to exposing the Kingdom in a specific place. I think that this is important.

May God give our family wisdom, grace, patience, joy, and boldness as we love our neighbors…

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  1. Christine on September 24, 2009 at 2:34 am

    Awesome post Justin. I love hearing the settledness in your ‘voice’, the reality checks and beauty of being in a place that good and evil are side by side, sharing the same space at differing hours. (we all live in that place…unfortunately too often we forget). There’s beauty in that place because God’s there…leading, directing, breathing. So grateful you’re in the place where you see Him in an inviting new way. God bless you on this journey.

  2. Justin on September 24, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks Christine!

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