Today is a day we’ve all come to associate with roses and chocolates, candlelit dinners and Hallmark cards. It is a day that we spend focused on showing love to our significant others and those we already have deep relationships with. Love is such an important part of life, especially a life centered on Christ, but how do we show love to those that we don’t know as well? Here is some inspiration, eight ways we can show love to our neighbors.
1. Take a moment to introduce yourself
In today’s culture of technology and constant connection it seems like we have stopped making time for people. So, do something that may be unexpected, go on a walk and introduce yourself to the people you cross paths with. Be sure to welcome new people to your neighborhood. Open yourself up to having a conversation with someone new, and you never know what may grow from that simple hello.
2. Help your neighbor with their yard work
Do you mow your lawn every week or go out early each day to shovel snow from your driveway. Why not walk across the street and help your neighbor with their yardwork? This simple act of service could go a long way to showing someone that you care and could open the door for future interaction.
3. Share what you have
Are you making a pot of soup this weekend? Why not throw a little extra in and provide dinner for your neighbor? Did you make a pan of brownies that you know you shouldn’t eat all of? Wrap a couple up and take them next door. Do you have more apples than you need on your back yard tree? Give them away! People will be surprised and touched that you thought of them, whatever it is you have to share.
4. Invite them over
So often, we pass the same people on the street every day and never let them into our lives. Invite them over. Play games, watch a movie, eat dessert. The opportunities are endless. Just taking the time to develop a relationship with them will mean a lot. Alternatively, you could invite your neighbor over for lunch or coffee. Time spent talking over a meal can help you develop a true relationship with your neighbor.
5. Stop traveling alone
Every week we go somewhere. We take our kids to school, go to work, run errands. Often we’re alone when we do these things. We are riding alone in the car or closed off with our headphones on the train or bus. Open yourself up to meeting new people. If you can, ride public transport to work, smile at people as they come aboard, give your seat to a young mother or an older gentleman with a heavy bag. Alternatively, you can carpool with your neighbors or offer to take their kids to school.
6. Take action in your neighborhood
Talk to your neighbors. Find out what they would really love to see happen in the community. Then encourage them to work with you to make change happen. That could mean organizing a block party one evening a month as an opportunity for all your neighbors to socialize, or it could mean organizing a neighborhood service day. You could clean the area park or help a family paint their house.
7. Offer encouragement in times of trial
Life regularly throws challenges at us. Everything from a birth to a death in the family adds extra stress. Make yourself available to your neighbors in stressful times. Bring them dinner. Follow-up with them and listen as they process through the changes they are encountering. Simply ask, “Is there anything you could use help with?” Offer them encouragement and show them that you truly care about them.
Never underestimate the power of prayer. No matter what stage you are at in your relationship with your neighbor you can always pray for them. Consider committing to “prayer walk” your street at least once per week. As you walk past each house, pray for the family inside and for God to give you opportunities to be in relationship with them. God is faithful to reveal how He is working and to allow us to join Him when we make ourselves available.Images courtesy of froboy & Hampus Persson / Flickr.com