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Sunday Dialogue: What goes on behind closed doors?

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"Behind Closed Doors" is a country song written by Kenny O'Dell and first recorded by Charlie Rich for his 1973 album “Behind Closed Doors.” The single became Rich's first number-one hit on the country charts, spent 20 weeks on this chart, and also became a crossover hit on the pop charts.” Source Wikipedia

While this song is a tribute to a guy singing a song about his gal, it came to my mind yesterday in a different way while speaking to a lady who was canvassing our neighborhood encouraging people to support her in a local school board election.

She made a comment that stayed with me long after she left. She said that by going door to door, she had her eyes and heart opened to the fact that there are so many hurting people all around us.

I began thinking about those who lived behind closed doors; barriers of all types. I began thinking about how many people there must be who are living shut off from the world and their neighbors.

She had no more left my door when I felt that is what God would have me write about today.

Jesus did not make any bones about who we should love. We should love the Lord with all our hearts, minds, and abilities. We should love our families; for lacking to care for them makes us less than an infidel.

But He also says in Mark 12:

“The first commandment is: “AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.'

"The second is this, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF. There is no other commandment greater than these."

It is important to note the position of the first and second great commandment. The first one has to come first. For without God, there can be no love.

In the Book of Matthew, it is asked: “Teacher, (Jesus) which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

And He said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.”

“And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depends all the Law and the Prophets.”

Do we understand how profound that last statement is? All of God’s laws, and the original laws of America, are based on people not just governing themselves; but loving each other – respecting each other.

God gave the Ten Commandments that we should know how to love and honor Him; as well as our families and neighbors. Upon these Commandments, the law of our land is based.

The Bible says, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 7:12This is what is also known as the “Golden Rule.” If we would only learn and practice this – there would be no more bullying, stealing, killing and maltreatment of any kind. It is such a simple little rule to live by. The Gospel of God is simple.You can find many more references in the Bible regarding the love of one’s neighbor; so why is this so foreign to most people? They simply don’t read the Bible. Source: Open Bible There was a time in America when neighbors had to depend on each other. There were no government programs to help them, and it was do or die with what you had; and they understood that when they were a good neighbor then they could expect neighbors to be good to them in return. They needed each other – today people want to be so independent that they miss out on the blessings of God by not sharing their lives with others.

There was an old term for this, ‘You scratch my back, and I will scratch your back!” Ever try to scratch that itch in the center of your shoulder blades and with no one around to help you out? Kinda hard, huh?

Sadly, there are so many people today who have an itch they can’t scratch in many other ways; they can be mental, physical, spiritual, financial, and/or social itches; and there is no one around. And they mostly live behind closed doors. People don’t want to get involved – they don’t want to open the door of their hearts and let other people in.

Today people can live in crowded neighborhoods, high-rise closed-in condos – or even in apartments and mobile home parks. They can live practically on top of each other and not even know their neighbor’s name. But a neighbor does not have to live close to you to be a neighbor. However many are quick to complain about their neighbors.

Jesus was once asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He had explained that they should love their neighbor, and a young lawyer asked him, “Who is my neighbor?” Maybe he wanted to make sure he didn’t overdo it; and love someone who might not be his neighbor.

Jesus then told the story of the Good Samaritan who did not know the injured man on the side of the road; but stopped to help his immediate need; but also provided for his needs until he was well.

Jesus did not enter into ministry alone? He chose twelve dedicated and devoted men to help Him. Could He have done it differently? Yes, but He chose to have friends and companions around Him to accomplish His earthly mission.

It was later said of these men that they turned the world upside down. However, it does not fulfill the law for those who are exclusive in their friendships – only including those they feel comfortable being with. Being a good neighbor may sometimes require one to move out of their comfort zone to be used of God to help someone else.

There is a new awakening in our nation of how much we, like those early settlers, need each other. There is an exciting thing taking place in our neighborhood – a new Facebook Page solely for this community, dedicated to the friendship and the good neighbor policy of getting to know one another, to love one another, and to be helpful and willing to be of assistance to one another.

So who is our neighbor? We mostly don’t know because we don’t ask and seek them out. We have neighbors living in a designated area where we live; we have neighbors that we work with every day; neighbors that we go to school with; and neighbors that we sit next to on the same pew in church every Sunday.

The cashier who checks out our groceries is our neighbor; the doctor who treats our illnesses is our neighbor; the policemen, the firemen, the insurance salesman, the members of the church, the lonely man who just lost his wife is our neighbor.

Our neighbor can be that single mother struggling to make a go of life for her children. She is our neighbor; or the handicapped person who never has a visitor or gets to sit out in the sunshine is our neighbor.

The caregiver of challenged children, and the elderly, is our neighbor. The postman is our neighbor; that person in a nursing home is our neighbor; and that latch-key kid is our neighbor.

If I left out anyone please keep on remembering. To boil it all down into one small nutshell of wisdom: EVERYONE is our neighbor.

Many times there are tragic events or the death of a loved one in a neighborhood, and on one knows, and no is there to give aid and support. There was a day when there was a death of a loved one in a neighborhood and folks could not afford to send flowers; they would take up a collection of nickels, dimes, and quarters to buy an arrangement from the neighborhood. And people would knock on the door to take food and to give their sympathy. Today so many grieve in silence and loneliness.

No doubt there are neighbors who go lacking because there is no one to bring them a bowl of soup when they are ill; or to grocery shop for them when their fridge is empty. Churches used to have committees for these situations.

For fear of crime, we have double, triple locks on our doors and alarms to frighten bad people away; but maybe we should open our doors more often to good neighbors who can be a help in times of fun and joy; as well as in crime prevention.

So what is our Christian duty to all of our neighbors? LOVE THEM AS WE LOVE OURSELVES for this is the Law of God.

God is love. Without God there would be no love. Read and remember this serious scripture found in John. IF WE SAY THAT WE LOVE GOD AND DO NOT LOVE OUR BROTHER (SISTER) THEN WE ARE A LIAR. And the scripture also says that God hates liars – look that one up.

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and His love is brought to perfection in us. This is how we know that we remain in Him and He in us, that He has given us of his Spirit.”

“Moreover, we have seen and testify that the Father sent his Son as Savior of the world. To whoever acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God - God remains in Him and He in God. We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. “

“God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.”

“In this is, love brought to perfection among us, that we have confidence on the day of judgment because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment, and so one who fears is not yet perfect in love.

We love because He first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar; for whoever does not love a brother whom he has seen cannot love God* whom he has not seen. This is the commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother!”

In all ways possible, we are to strive to be like Christ. Jesus Christ says, “Behold I stand at the door and knock.

Revelation 3: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”

In order for us to be good neighbors as God decrees perhaps we should start knocking on some doors. People are leery of answering their doors these days to strangers – all the more reason to have block parties, coffees, community action groups, and even Bible studies in order to get to know your neighbors.

Common sense tells us to beware of stranger’s unaware coming to the door unannounced. But God gives each of us opportunities everyday to be a good neighbor wherever He leads us – and on the phone – e-mail – and social networking.

Being a good neighbor can be a smile, a pleasant word, holding a door open for someone – waving at them or chatting in the grocery aisle. If we are willing, God will give many safe opportunities to be a good neighbor. Most churches have lists of shut-ins, those in nursing homes – and there are many ways to find out who needs help in our communities.

God created us to be social beings for in the very beginning He said, “It is not good that man should be alone!” And there are so many people today who are alone, hurting, discouraged, depressed, and perhaps that is the huge increase in mental illness and crime sprees.

He also says that where two or more are gathered in His name, He will be in the midst of them. He also says that a cord of three threads is stronger than a single thread.

And my Sainted Mother, God rest her soul, used to tell us, “There is safety in numbers!”

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