How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird (Review)

How to love your neighbor review

A few months ago, we had a guest speaker at our church who spoke about Jesus’s command to “love your neighbor as yourself”.  But in the message he spoke about reaching out to your literal neighbor - knowing who your neighbors are and forming relationships with them, with the hope to ultimately reach them for Christ.

I was convicted, and for Christmas we grabbed some Thin Mints from the dollar store and passed them out to a few neighbors - and for the first time in six years, I actually knew the names of a few people living around me.

When I heard about the book “How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird” by Amy Lively, I snapped it up - I was hoping for more ideas on ways to reach out to these people whose names I finally know!

You know how sometimes it feels like a chore to finish reading certain books?  This book was not like that.  Lively opens up with her personal testimony, and then tells the story of how she started a neighborhood Bible study.  She effortlessly weaves stories into encouragement for why we need to reach out to our neighbors, the benefits and challenges, and practical encouragement.  I felt like there were a lot of good ideas and inspiration in this book for getting out there and really talking to your neighbors.  This book is definitely more geared toward women, so if your husbands are interested in getting to know the neighbors better too, you might try finding some more male-geared resources for him.

At first I felt like the author almost assumed that you already knew a lot of your neighbors and were building on an already formed connection, and I was a little frustrated because there didn’t seem to be a lot of information for how to practically go about establishing those relationships to start with. But finally toward the end of the book she gave some ideas for how to meet your neighbors.

Lively gives ideas for different events to host or attend to get to know your neighbors, and encourages you to open your home to your neighbors.  But I felt like much of the book focused on encouragement for forming a neighborhood Bible study.  In a lot of her stories about her own neighbors, she talks about neighbors she has who already follow the Lord.  I don’t think every neighborhood would have so many Christians in it (some might have only one other believer or none) so I think it might be a little challenging for every person to follow her suggestion to establish a neighborhood Bible study.  It might work beautifully for some neighborhoods, but might not garner interest in others.

My neighborhood, for instance, is one where people are very private - that’s why we live where we live, because it’s private.  We live on acres (not fractions of acres), and it’s difficult to talk to neighbors over the fence, or say hello in passing, because we are so spread out.  I know that I only know three neighbors in my neighborhood by name so far, and I can’t really say we have any sort of neighborly relationship yet.  I’m still working on it, so it would be a little “weird” for me to go up and just invite people to a Bible study at my house right off the bat.  Lively does suggest that you establish the relationships first, but most of the book assumes you have already done that - I’d like more information/encouragement for those very first steps!

Regardless, this book was insightful and gave me a lot of inspiration for getting out there and trying again with my neighbors.  I do think the “love your neighbor” commandment has been largely ignored in recent days when it comes to our literal neighbors, and I love that there are more books out there addressing this issue - and this one is a great one for more ideas on connecting with your neighbors!

Note: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review.  This is my honest opinion.
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Callie Nicole said...

Interesting, Veronica! I've never been in a neighborhood like that, but if we ever move in the future I will be curious to see the difference!

Mica said...

That book sounds like a great idea for those who are already friendly with their neighbours and want to build more of a relationship! :)

We know our neighbours by name and say hi in passing, but we don't really spend any time together. It's hard to do with a baby!

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