Love your neighbor

Not Mister Rogers Neighborhood

Love your neighbor

I live in a small town. While there are the older homes on original main streets, it is mostly suburbia.

I’ve been really thinking about the idea of neighbors the past few weeks.

First it was a visit with author Hugh Halter, talking about reaching those immediately around us.

Then it was a video posted by Michael Hyatt showing people in Russia helping those around them.

So I’ve been trying to figure out what I’d like to do to reach my neighbors.

Then today while I was at the neighborhood park with my kids, my purpose became clear.

Here’s the scene; Me and my kids, 5 of them to be exact, a woman and a little girl, and a mother with her 4 year old son and 3 year old daughter.

It soon became apparent that the woman let’s call her ‘B’ (no reason, it’s just a letter, seriously), really did not like the 4 year old boy.

How was it apparent? Well, she frequently went up to him and screamed at him.

Why was she screaming at him? Honestly I don’t know. He was playing with my kids just fine, and I never saw anything that should ruffle anyone’s feathers. The mother didn’t intervene, so I decided not to step in to say anything.

Soon after I saw the mother walking her two children home in silence being followed by a terrorizing screaming women.

I had to step in. I could not let this go on.

I spent the next several minutes trying to calm ‘B’ down, explaining that it was a children’s park and that cursing at small children is not acceptable, all while remaining calm.

My calmness did nothing but enrage the ‘B’ and who now had friends coming to her aid. .

If I had not been holding my 3 year old I would have been assaulted, even with my 3 year old in my arms she was pretty close.

Soon after I went to check on the mother of the young boy. She informed me that she had only been living in the neighborhood a few months and has been treated this way by her neighbors the entire time.

Can you imagine? Your children not safe out your front door? Your neighbors screaming obscenities at your preschool aged children?

My neighborhood purpose has become clear. Befriend this single mother, and love on her and her children. Provide my yard for her children to have a safe place to play, and my children for them to have safe playmates.

I may not be able to reach my entire neighborhood, especially ‘B’ who’d like to clean my clock, but I can reach this one woman. I don’t need to push the Gospel on her, or convince her to come to my church, but I can still be Jesus to her.

I’m still pretty riled up. I can’t stop thinking about the mother up the street crying because of the fear she has for her child.

I’m pretty sensitive when it comes to children, I’ve got major mama bear syndrome. But I don’t think that is necessary to see the needs of people around you.

I think if you are looking, waiting, those needs will not only jump right in front of you, but beg you to intervene.

The Good Samaritan story is overplayed, so I’m not going there. But I seriously think we live the scenes of that story every day. Every day!

It’s up to us to stand up for what’s right, no matter the cost. I’d totally stand up to that playground bully again if I had to.

But the real test, is if I do it again tomorrow. Then the next day. Then the day after that. Sometimes we get on this ‘I helped someone’ high, and it keeps us from helping anyone else the next day.


How About You?

I dare you to sit and read this and not have an image flash across your mind. No matter who it is, that is the person you should be helping. Who is it for you?


Help Me Get to Panama!

I’m going on a missions trip to Panama this July, and I need your help to get there (my current storm, lol)!

Check out these posts about why I’m going and what I’ll be doing.

Why I’m Leaving My 6 Kids to Go to Panama

Panama Missions & El Refuge

Here is the link to give to my tax deductible giving fund. For those who give $50 or more I’ll be sending a one of a kind tie-dye ‘I (heart) Panama’ T-shirt!

Online fundraising for Panama 2013 - Esther Aspling


Don’t Forget!

You can follow me on Twitter @EstherAspling and like me on Facebook HERE.

See you next time!
Esther :-)

14 thoughts on “Not Mister Rogers Neighborhood”

  1. Ha, I totally get the “I helped someone” high. I have been feeling pretty awful lately about my lack of love toward my neighbors, whom I don’t really even know. Trying to get up the courage to connect — you go!

  2. Esther,

    Love your willingness to stand up to the bully as well as making a point of being the body of Christ. I found my way here from your response on Jon Acuff’s site, and if you don’t have a problem with it, I’d like to link to your blog from mine.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wow! Can you imagine? Well, I guess you can, now. I’m so glad you were willing to step in for this new mom. That’s hard to do sometimes, to step up and say something when it would be easier to just pretend we don’t hear what’s going on. Thanks for giving us all courage and reason to “step up” the next time ourselves. I’ve been encouraged by your story today. Blessings! :)

    1. I realized that I had been sheltering myself. I was completely shocked when this woman could not see the reasoning behind not screaming obscenities at a 4 year old boy that wasn’t hers.
      It’s definitely time for me to get out of that box I’ve been hiding in and start being open to seeing the real world around me. :-)

  4. Oh my, what a terrible thing! I’m so thankful that you stood up for the young single mother. I could not agree with your message more. Way to stand in the gap for someone!

    1. While I didn’t allow my children (other than the 3yr old I was holding) to see the altercation, I hope that they will grow to do the same. Outside of the house anyway, at home they thrown each other under the bus in a heart beat.

  5. Thank you for sharing this story. Especially thank you for bolding the antagonist- I thought it was the mother yelling at her own child until I re-read the scenario. (I can’t stand that kind of negative aggressive parenting)
    What saddens me most is the new neighbor felt so down trodden that she could not even defend her littles.
    In my tiger-helicopter-over protective parenting-whatever you want to call it mind- I cannot fathom that. We are graced by God to lead and protect our children. We set the standard of how our children will be perceived and sometimes how they are treated by others.
    I praise God that you were there to offer words of encouragement and peace.
    My prayer is that God strengthens that mother’s heart and spirit so she can be fully there as parent and protector to her children. Thank you for living out Romans 12:10(NIV) to her.

    1. I think (having been one) that single parents are most at risk for becoming down trodden. Without the extra support a spouse provides, each battle can feel like the whole war.
      It really is important for those of us around single parents to give them the support they need, we should want their children to have their best chance as much as our own. :-)

  6. Wow – Good for you. You made a huge difference in her world. We have the most impact by REALLY helping one person. Giving $100 to a fund isn’t quite the same. Thank you for sharing! Have a fabulous day!

    1. That is so true! Our church leads by this example by giving 50% of everything that comes in financially back to the community in small chunks that really make a difference. We are to be the ‘hands’ and ‘feet’ not debit cards and checkbooks. (that being said, I would totally love people to help me get to Panama, lol)

  7. So often I feel guilty about not doing “enough”. And here, you so eloquently point out the solution: pray. Pray for God to open our eyes and our hearts. That if we’re praying, if we’re praying to SEE our neighbors and be in relationship with them, that God will do the rest. I’m believing this today, and asking: Lord, help me SEE.

    1. I don’t want that feeling like I need to be everything to everybody, and that’s not even what God wants for us. But if we are listening, and shine His light where he leads us then I think we are getting it right. :-)

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