Good Neighbors

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Long ago as part of my orientation to Mexico I was required to read a short book about the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico. It was entitled Good Neighbors, by John Conlon. The book talked about the significant differences between the two countries, but in a positive, constructive way.

We need a positive, more objective way of viewing U.S./Mexico relations, now more than ever.

I have long believed that generally speaking, racial prejudice is blown way out of proportion by a sensationalistic media. I still do. I get weary of the hype. Nevertheless, our recent month in the U.S. raised some new concerns. My newfound impressions have little or nothing to do with general U.S. culture. They pertain to the church.

I was touched by the testimony of a mid-aged couple who came up to me after a church service. The couple lived next to an Hispanic single mother. Often, when the wife would see the schoolbus coming, she would yell up the stairs to make sure the neighbor’s elementary school daughter would not miss the bus. A while later, the Hispanic mother gave this church couple a whole crate of eggs. “Here, please take this…thanks so much for helping us out.”

The man had tears in his eyes as he told me this simple story, and I have tears in mine as I relate it.

My concern is that we have allowed politics, or perceived societal issues, to cloud or erase a basic, fundamental Christian obligation. We need to be good neighbors. We need to love.

It should not matter to a Jesus follower what language a neighbor speaks, what skin he is wrapped in, or even if he is a “good neighbor,” whatever that means. We are God’s ambassadors. How are we doing with that?

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