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3 Ways to Neighbor with a Hope That Doesn’t Disappoint

Written by Joe Wittmer on

Recently, our congregation was encouraged by a Sunday message that called us to remember truths from Lamentations 3:21-23,

“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope; the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”

As we call to mind the hope of Christ, it is a good chance for us to consider the extension of that hope, as well. Rather than mainaining an internal hope, let’s consider how we can be good neighbors during times like the present, and share the hope that doesn’t disappoint (Rom. 5:5). To that end, these three steps can help guide your conversations and actions:

1. Remember

We should first consider the work that needs to be done in our own hearts. What is God doing to reveal areas of need in our own lives? How does he want us to respond?  We must, first, believe the truth of the gospel in our own hearts so we can turn and speak truth to others.

When the world is in an uproar, when the waves are crashing around us, when there is uncertainty streaming from each news update: We must “call to mind,” we must “remember” who God is. This remembering is important during all times, but it is particularly helpful during times of unrest. When those news updates and culture are speaking of the mounting uncertainty, remembering the character of our God is a helpful anchor for our souls. When we remember who God is, we remember who we are. This identity-perspective grounds us, braces us and helps us to recall hope.

Remembering is the first step we must take during times of anxiety and uncertainty. I encourage you to start each new morning doing so, because remembering will help us to us to obtain hope during the most tempting times for anxiety in our lives.

The world is watching to see how we will respond to these times of trials. They want to see if the hope we offer is real hope—hope that does not disappoint.

2. Respond

We must respond.  First, we settle on believing truth in our own hearts, then we respond by sharing that truth with the other people God brings into our lives. This is both belief and action. Consider the impact you might have in your neighborhood, by:

  • Texting or calling with a “check in” for your neighbors
  • Putting a notecard in the mailboxes around your home
  • Connecting on social media or sending a text
  • Starting a Marco Polo group
  • Supporting each other with e-learning
  • Offering to make a neighborhood grocery run
  • Preparing a soup and bread meal for someone else
  • Taking a daily prayer walk and asking others for prayer requests

During any time of anxiety or uncertainty—including now—we have opportunities to meet the physical and emotional needs of others. So I encourage you to begin praying about how God can use your unique neighboring relationships for his glory. Ask him how you might care for the needs of your neighbors and, in doing so, share the gospel. And then: take action. For the glory of God and the good of your neighbors, seek to daily demonstrate the Lord of Christ in the way you intentionally care for those around you.

3. Remind

In Colossians 3:14, we are told to “put on love and be thankful.” But what does this look like in the context of neighboring relationships? Well, first: consider the practical, such as random acts of kindness that lead to deeper conversations and connections.

We want to meet the physical, mental, and emotional needs of those God has entrusted into our neighboring circles. Our hope is that our present suffering will draw people into a lasting relationship with our Savior and we, and they, remember our need for a Savior amid a broken and hurting world.

COVID-19 is an opportunity for each of us to remember who God has called us to be, respond to his unique calling in our lives, and remind the people he’s brought into our spheres of influence. In this, we will “call to mind” the powerful truth of who he is and what salvation offers us: a hope that does not disappoint.

Joe Wittmer

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