Neighbors

The other week we watched Hitchcock’s Rear Window. Great plot and sub-plots, great suspense, and, of course, great clothes as Grace Kelly swans around in Edith Head couturier (she even looks chic in what was known at the time as dungarees!). For me the most poignant scene in the movie is when one of Jimmy Stewart’s neighbors finds her little dog has been killed—a little dog everyone has watched day in and day out being let down by her in a basket to the courtyard below her fire escape. When she finds his body she cries out to everyone looking out through their windows:

“You don’t know the meaning of the word neighbor. Neighbors like each other, speak to each other, care if anybody lives or dies, but none of you do.”

Have you ever thought about how much a kind word or a small consideration can mean? Have you ever thought about why the phrase human touch describes something important, necessary and good? The other day one of our neighbors, who knows what we’re going through, briefly said, “Life is tough sometimes, isn’t it?” That meant a lot to us. Her touch of empathy connected us as people. With only a few words she conveyed to us support, trust in who we are and understanding of what we feel.

Soon after I became a Christian I heard the person who explained the gospel to me, teach from 1 Thessalonians 2. I remember that night, and I remember him talking about verse 8:

Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.

…you had become very dear to us.” In all likelihood there are people in your church who feel dear to no one.

It can be a sad and sometimes tragic thing when neighbors are strangers—don’t like each other or speak to each other or care if anybody lives or dies. How much more sad and tragic when Christians do the same.

_________
Barmhartige Samaritaan (The Good Samaritan), Han Wezelaar: Gouwenaar, Public Domain.

Original content: Copyright ©2011 Iwana Carpenter

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