I love a front porch. I don’t have one, but when we move again, I have told my husband the front porch is a priority. Oh, and it must have rocking chairs!
I desire a front porch more than a swimming pool.
I don’t want a front porch with rocking chairs because I am getting old, but because the front porch is an invitation.
Growing up, I remember the front porch was a place where family and friends gathered to talk about daily events, sip some iced tea, and enjoy the sounds of children laughing and playing until dark in the neighborhood. As times have changed and families have become so much busier and seemingly more inwardly focused, we have lost the value of the front porch.
7 Values I Learned About Loving My Neighbor On The Front Porch
1.) Friendship Matters
Growing up, I could tell you the name of every neighbor that lived on my road from the bottom to the top of the hill. We would drive past their houses, and they would often be sitting on their front porches. We would toot the car horn as we passed by and give a shout out the window. When something happened on the hill such as a death or an accident, or if someone lost their job, everyone gathered around and supported our neighbors by taking up a collection of money, preparing meals, or providing childcare.
2.) Kindness Matters
We were recipients of neighborly kindness many times. Our house caught fire when I was in second grade, while my mom was frying chicken. Grease fires are the worst! My brother, myself, and the neighborhood kids were playing in the woods across from our house when we heard sirens. We came running out of the woods to see police cars and fire trucks with sirens blaring and lights blazing in front of my house. Mrs. C, our neighbor lady, took me to her home while my mom was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. People watched out for one another this way.
3.) Compassion Matters…
There was another time a neighbor fell off his bulldozer and broke his shoulder while helping others dig out from a major blizzard. All the neighbors took up a collection to help him and his family because he couldn’t work. He also owned horses, so everyone took turns taking care of his barn and horses while he was recuperating.Over time, we've lost sight of the things that matter most. Find out about the value of the front porch on Candidly Christian. Click To Tweet
4.) Love Matters
My grandparents lived down the road from us, and when I was in ninth grade, my grandfather passed away unexpectedly. One of the things I remember most is all the food the neighbors made to help us in our time of grief so we wouldn’t have to cook. We had food for months!
5.) Generosity Matters
I remember on many occasions when my mom would find out that a neighbor lost a job and didn’t have anything to eat, she would buy bags of groceries and drop them off on their front porch. We were not rich by any means, and looking back, we were poorer than most, but my mom’s philosophy was if you have something to give, you have more than someone else.
6.) Listening Matters
Conversations held on those front porches solved many of the world’s problems. People could share their opinions and without getting deleted, blocked, or called ugly names. I learned a lot from those conversations. One of the lessons I learned is the importance of listening. You didn’t always have to agree, but you needed to show respect toward one another.
7.) Caring Matters
One of my biggest problems growing up was that everybody knew everyone it was challenging to try to get away with anything. People cared about their neighbors and what happened to them. Parents kept their ears open even when you thought no one was listening. Looking back, I am grateful for the front porches because they did keep me out of a lot of trouble.
Beyond The Front Porch…
God’s Commands Matter
I didn’t know it at the time, but what we were living was the very essence of what God calls each of us to do.
And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength. The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”Mark 12:30-31
The front porch taught us life lessons about how to treat other people and love them well. The front porch is our invitation to invite others to experience the love of Jesus. Jesus doesn’t ask us to love our neighbor. He commands us to love our neighbor. I’m convinced He commands us to love our neighbor because He knows as human beings, our hearts will always battle against our selfish desires.The front porch is our invitation to invite others to experience the love of Jesus. Click To Tweet
So, how do we do love our neighbors well? We must love them as God loves us. But, first, that means we must love ourselves. This means we must accept our own faults and limitations and allow our hearts to see ourselves in the way God sees us. None of us are perfect on this side of heaven. We can’t let our imperfections keep us from loving the person God created us to be. God doesn’t look at us as imperfect, but as perfectly designed by Him. This is how we can love our neighbors as well, by loving them as God loves us, even with all their flaws.
God’s commands inspire us to be intentional. Unity is intentional with God. Here is the proof! Great things happen in communities where people come together with a common goal. We appreciate one another, we share compassion and empathy, and we set an example for future generations.
I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.John 17:23
Loving our neighbor also means demonstrating grace, extending forgiveness, and sharing hope in good and bad times. It also requires acts of service and humility. Jesus was always about serving the needs of others, and He was humble about it. Jesus accepted and loved people where they were at and continually supported them by speaking words of encouragement and truth.
There are times we do get in disagreements with our neighbors, but these are the times the invitation to your front porch is even more critical. It is easy to be a good neighbor when everything is going well, but loving your neighbor as yourself when you are hurt, angry, or upset takes on a whole new meaning. When we can move past our hurts and love our neighbor as God desires, everybody wins! The enemy loses power every time we choose to keep inviting people to our front porch.
Everyone is Your Neighbor
Also, your neighbor isn’t just the person who lives in your neighborhood. Your neighbor is the grocery clerk, your child’s teacher, the person holding up the carpool lane, your boss, people who may have different opinions than you, who are a different color than you, or even belong to a different political party.
It ALL Matters
The best way to treat your neighbor is the way you treat yourself. With love, kindness, compassion, generosity, listening, forgiveness, and giving respect, we are doing our part to make daily life better for everyone. The best part is none of these things costs money. This is something we all can afford.With love, kindness, compassion, generosity, listening, forgiveness, and giving respect, we are doing our part to make daily life better for everyone. Click To Tweet
Invite People to the Front Porch
As Christ-followers, we all have a front porch. We should be inviting and welcoming everyone to the front porch because Jesus would want each of us to offer His hospitality. I bet heaven has a huge front porch with plenty of rocking chairs where people of all ages, sizes, colors, and ethnicities will be sharing in the goodness of God.
The Impact is for Life
I am convinced today’s lack of front porches is affecting us negatively. God created us for community. How we love and treat our neighbors today will impact how future generations treat each other. I am thankful for the front porches in the neighborhood where I grew up. When I drive home nowadays, some of the neighborhood has changed. People have passed away, the kids have grown and moved on, and some new houses have popped up on the hill, but there isn’t a time that I don’t see one of the old neighbors who gives a wave and a smile that reminds me of the importance of keeping the invitation to my front porch open.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.Hebrews 13:16
How Do You Love Your Neighbor?
Do you have any front porch memories or tips about loving your neighbor you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
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