Now, maybe you have great neighbors. If you do, I can be pretty sure that there’s still someone in your life who is difficult to deal with.
Maybe it’s a co-worker who just rubs you the wrong way. Maybe they’re always taking credit for other people’s work. Or maybe they’re always butting into other people’s business. Or flirting to get their way with the boss.
Maybe it’s other parents on your kids’ sports teams – always yelling at the kids, including your kids.
When it comes to dealing with difficult people, we have a tendency to put up a fence between us and them. We hide behind that fence. That way we can pretend like the difficult people aren’t really a problem.
Many of us orient our lives around the legend that Good Fences Make Good Neighbors.
Its easy to feel the skepticism set it. One bad experience with one person makes you a little on edge with the next, right? I mean, we don’t know who the nice people are vs. the mean people, and by the time you get to know someone well enough to know which category they fit in it’s too late! They’re already in our lives!
You’ve probably felt skeptical questions come over you when shaking someone’s hand. “What if this person bothers me?” “What if they expect too much from me.” “What if they keep hanging around when I want them to get away?” “What if they’re rude.” Not sure who will be a pain we often try to keep the average person of everyday life at arms length.
It’s the safe route, but it also forfeits the good God has for you and the good he wants to do through you. The people you interstect with in Everyday Life need you! People need what you have. Many people will never walk through the doors of church to hear about Jesus. For many people, you are the closest thing to Jesus they’ll every see or hear. If you open yourself to ongoing trusting relationships with your neighbors, you’ll find the good news of Jesus naturally rubbing off on them.