Hello, and welcome to the final week in our series on Good Neighbours.
Previously, we’ve thought about how to get to know our neighbours better, how to take positive steps to build relationships with the aim of becoming friends with those who live around us. This is all so that we can carry out Jesus’ commandment to love our neighbours as ourselves.
Remember we don’t love our neighbours so that we can make them Christians. We love our neighbours because we are Christians. As we create deeper friendships with our neighbours, we will naturally have opportunities to share the most important things in life with them.
In this final video, I want to draw out two other quick points that the authors make in the remaining chapters of the book. These are both about the challenges that we face when we try to be good neighbours.
The first one is about the importance of setting boundaries. The reality is, when we make real relationships with our neighbours, we must be prepared to have needy and messed up people in our lives. Whilst this is a very positive thing to do, it is also important to realise we are not responsible for every aspect of these people’s lives. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do is to draw appropriate boundaries.
The second one is the importance of focussing. In Luke 10, we read about Jesus sending his disciples out to spread his message of good news. Jesus tells the disciples to look for a man of peace. He means that the disciples should look for someone who responds positively to the message and welcomes them into his home. This is a good idea to take on board when we look to build relationships with our neighbours.
We don’t have unlimited time for our neighbours, and our neighbours don’t have unlimited time for us. So it is better to focus on a few quality relationships, rather than a lot of superficial ones. The best way to do this is to ask ourselves: who are the men or women of peace on our street? Who are the people who we naturally connect with or who seem the most friendly to us? It may very well be the case that these are the best people to connect with.
We have now come to the end of the series. I hope you have enjoyed it and found it provocative. Thank you for joining in. I hope it has encouraged you greatly in being a good neighbour to those who live around you.
Please use the discussions questions below to help you think about the issues that have been raised this week, and to think about the series as a whole, and how it has benefitted you.
Questions for Reflection
1. Have you ever needed to set a boundary with your neighbour or had a messy situation that you had to deal with?
2. If someone has a copy of the book to hand, read the example that are given on pages 137-142. What are your reflections on these examples? Have you faced similar situations when you have had to make a tough decision in order to show love to someone?
3. Who are the men or women of peace in your street or on your road? Are there neighbours on your road who have been unfriendly or who have caused problems for you? How have you dealt with these situations?
Activity to Finish
If you have brought the street map from the first week, take it out and update it. If you haven’t brought it, have a think about the progress that you have made in being a good neighbour since the first week.
Discuss together the progress you have made, and the things that you have found encouraging or challenging about this series. Are there any stories that you would like to share?
Finally, as a whole or in smaller groups, pray for the names that you have written down on your street map and for other neighbours for whom you would like to pray. You might want to pray for one another, that God would help you to love your neighbours. Or you might want to pray about other things that have come up as a result of this series.