You want to be known for loving your neighbor. But what does that really look like lived out every day?
Every summer my neighborhood’s Facebook is full of complaints from neighbors about unkempt grass, it’s full of judgment about houses that neglect the spring power washing. The latest post about an unkempt lawn was out of control; neighbor after neighbor commented with judgment, posting pictures of the unkempt lawn.
“That house is causing our property value to go down.”
“I’m embarrassed to invite people over because of they’ll see that house as they drive through.”
“Their yard has to be why the bugs are so bad on this street.”
“This is not the first time they have let their yard get out of control.”
“It’s not that hard to mow the lawn and it cost $50 to hire someone, there is no excuse.”
I showed my husband the post with a photo of the house being called out, and I showed him the comments. He asked if that was the second house at the back entrance, and I said yes. My husband got up, put on his shoes, walked into the garage, started the mower, and headed down the street. Our neighborhood probably has 200 or 300 houses, and we have no idea who lives in that house, or why their yard is a mess, we know nothing about them, what we do know is kindness, and we see something is struggling in that home to have the yard grown up that way. My husband mowed, rode back home, and went back with his weed-eater and a leaf blower in his truck and manicured the lawn. He left a note in the front storm door that said, “If I see it overgrown again, I will be back to help.”
Two days went by, and my neighborhood Facebook page was buzzing again. People were patting themselves on the back for their previous post tearing down the people with the unkempt lawn. They commented, “The neighbors must have seen our post and finally decided to do something about their lawn.” Another said, “Maybe if we post of picture of it every time it’s a mess, they will keep it up.”
I showed my husband, I told him we should comment that YOU went over and cleaned up their lawn because that is what we should be doing for our neighbors instead of blasting them on Facebook. We did not comment. My husband didn’t need accolades for what he did, and he didn’t see the need to shame the people on Facebook for their hateful comments. He just loved his neighbor the way God calls us to and left it alone. As the next couple weeks went by my husband drove down to the house to check it out, he noticed the lawn was untouched from when he mowed it, so he came back, hopped on his mower, and headed down to clean the yard up again. This went on and on until the first frost and the yard no longer needed mowing. We never knew why the yard was left unattended, or what was going on in the life of the people who lived there, but we do know we acted in love and that is all that matters.