“I just don’t understand! I’m the new woman in my neighborhood—shouldn’t others be inviting me into their homes?”
The woman’s question caught me off guard. I had just finished speaking to a group of women, encouraging them to look around at where they lived and find someone who may need a friend: in other words, look for ways to love their literal neighbors.
As I thought for a moment about her question, I realized it’s one I secretly think as well. Why do I have to be the one to reach out? Can’t others approach me first? Invite me into their homes? And then deeper questions, rooted in my own insecurity, surface: What if they say no? What if they don’t like me? The fear of rejection will often stop me in my tracks as my mind quickly comes up with excuses for why I can’t do it right now or how I’ll get to it later.
And yet my excuses fall a little flat when I turn to Scripture, because although it is certainly nice to be invited in by others first, Scripture is clear that as Christians we cannot wait for an invitation. As followers of Jesus we are to be the inviters. We are the ones who include others. We are the ones who are to first show love, leaving our circles open to those around us. Jesus’ greatest command may be simple to understand, but it takes intentionality to carry out. Love God; love your neighbor. There is no greater command. This is how I gently responded to the woman’s question on that fateful morning. It’s also the tender reminder I give myself when insecurity or fear rears its ugly head as I step out in faith to turn a stranger into a friend.
Today’s act of friendship:
Prayerfully consider one way you can invite a literal neighbor into friendship.