Be present. Be where the conversation in your neighborhood is happening. Be “in the room” when your neighbor (your spouse, friend etc.) is talking. Have the attitude, “I’m here unless told otherwise,” rather than, “Circumstances can change at any time, so I won’t get too tied down.” It’s true we don’t know the future, and while we can’t say, “I’m going to be here for the rest of my life,” we can act like it. Be attentive to the things (anxiety, anger, impatience, etc.) that prevent you from being present.
Be slow to speak, quick to listen. (James 1.19) Recognize that the conversation about your neighborhood preceded your presence there. Learn your neighbor’s history (both those that live in your house and next door to you) and your neighborhood’s history. See your neighbors and your neighborhood as a gift to be discovered rather than a problem to be fixed. Open them and discover what’s been given to you.
Make a Change
Examine the ways God might be calling you to be a better neighbor. Then do them. Also ask challenging questions with grace and humility of other members of this church. Be ready to enter into a regular examination of this community so that we might know who God is calling us to be. Finally, after spending time showing up and listening well within the neighborhood, implement the ideas that occur to you.