Who is my Neighbor?

The proverbial question of “who is my neighbor” can be found in Luke chapter 10 before Jesus tells the story of the Good Samaritan. Read it for yourself, but *spoiler alert* – everyone is your neighbor

I felt compelled to write about this after having this concept of “neighbor” come up two different times this morning. One was in my “God of Creation” bible study book by Jen Wilkin; it is a study on the first 11 chapters of Genesis. Today I read about Cain being questioned about his brother Abel, and responding with, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” And the conclusion that Jen Wilkin has (and that I hope most of us would have) is YES – you are your brother’s keeper. Which then leads to the question: Who is my brother or sister (or neighbor)?

Another book where the concept of “neighbor” came up for today is called “How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds” by Alan Jacobs. I cannot say enough good things about this book – I think an entire post could be devoted to how awesome this book is. The part I read today talked about how easy it is to essentially treat people horribly when we don’t see them face to face. It’s easy to talk badly about someone when it’s a post on Facebook, or in a format where you aren’t really put in a situation to confront them. Look up the phrase “online disinhibition effect.” We start viewing people as “other” instead of “neighbor” (Jacobs, 2017, p. 82). 

I think we are all guilty of turning our neighbors into “others.” And many of us are also probably guilty of saying something online that we would never dream of saying to a person’s face. If we really begin to think about the fact that EVERYONE is our neighbor, then it should convict us to to act better. 

Luke 10: 27 – “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

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No One Cares About Your Blog

Wow… a bit harsh, right?

Let’s be honest: when you see a friend who posts on Facebook that they’ve just started a blog, what are your first thoughts?

A. Yay, I can’t wait to read it!

B. Yeah, yeah, whatever, we’ve all got a really super special blog that everyone should read…

I’ll admit – sometimes my answer is ‘B’ more often than ‘A.’

I’m not just trying to rag on your blog… this is a look in the mirror for me too, or at least, an honest look at my stats.

To be honest with you, I don’t have that many readers. I have a set number in my head of readers that will make me feel like my post was a “success,” and anything below kind of makes me feel like, “what was the point?” Are you other bloggers like that?

It is kind of sad when you take the time to thoughtfully (or perhaps even not-so-thoughtfully) write out something and no one reads it. Maybe for you, your post represented an epiphany you had, and you wanted to share that with the world.

Maybe you had a horrible, gut-wrenching experience that you want to share with the world – not because you want to brag about it, or make people feel sorry for you, but to give that experience new meaning in your life – to take that horrible event and give it a purpose. Maybe you want your story to inspire or help someone else, and blogging is the way you share that with others.

Maybe blogging is a way to just write – to write out your feelings and thoughts and fears and hopes and dreams… and maybe you hope that someone, anyone out there, will read it and feel the same way you do. Maybe you just want one person to connect with, to tell you you’re not crazy and that they understand what you’re going through.

In general, I want to avoid blogging just to get readers. Don’t get me wrong, I love having readers and reading the comments people leave me… but I don’t want to get to the point where I write just for the stats alone. Because if I did that, I’d probably stop writing. Or my writing wouldn’t be “me” anymore – I’d lose my authenticity just for higher numbers.

Unless you’re a blogging superstar (and yes, I’ll admit, I’m a bit jealous…), not everything you write is going to have hundreds of readers. And just because something doesn’t have a lot of readers, doesn’t mean it is garbage. It’s easy to look at success or failure through popularity. I have to remind myself that even if no one reads my blog, I still benefit from writing it. I get a chance to think deeply about issues that matter to me, and challenge myself to be a better person. I get a chance to sort through my emotions and feel better by the time I hit “Publish.”

If you are someone that did read this post, I thank you. Whether you are the only person or the 10,000th person who read this post, thanks for reading. I know I just went on about how it doesn’t matter if I get any readers, but that doesn’t take away the fact that it still feels good to have people read what I write. It’s very honoring to know that people took time from their busy lives to read something that I wrote.

Because if we’re honest, we don’t like to give up our time for others. Or is that just me? A lot of the time, we’re too busy to make time for others. I’m too busy writing my own blog posts to read the ones that you have just finished writing. I’m too busy trying to be heard to take time to listen.

So – where does that leave us… or me, for that matter? If you’ve made it this far into this post, obviously you are a person who’s willing to make time for others. You’ve made time for me, and I’m honored that you did. Maybe you’re a lot more selfless than I am. Maybe I need to be more like you, and read the thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams of others around me.

Alright, well, this post took an unexpected turn and I think I’ll leave it at that.

Anyone want to recommend some new blogs for me to read?