Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Two Young Friends

I met her when I was in grad school.  We had class together all day on Saturday — two four-hour courses back to back with a 90-minute lunch break in between.  She hopped in my car to go grab a bite to eat a few times, and as the weeks went by we learned a little bit about each other.  She taught Spanish.  I taught English.  She taught in a public school.  I taught in a private school.  She was divorced.  I had never been married.  She was seeking spiritually.  I knew well who she was seeking.  She had questions.  I shared my heart.

One Saturday, she mentioned casually that she had visited a church close to her home a few times.  She wanted to buy a Bible.  She asked me if I could help her.  I met her for lunch, and we hit the Bible bookstore.  I was delighted to find her a Spanish-English Bible with parallel texts in two languages.  Perfect.

Every week, she came with questions:  Where in the Bible does it talk about this?  What do you say to the Jehovah’s Witness people who come to your door?  How do I tell my family about my faith?  She was blossoming right before my eyes.  Beautiful.  She was in love with my Savior.  Simply beautiful.

Christian radio became her school.  “Do you know about this speaker?  He comes on Friday evenings at 6:30.  I listen every week.  Yesterday, he talked about the gifts of the Spirit.”  Her appetite for spiritual things started to challenge me.

“Do you have an accountability partner?”  she asked one day.  Grad school was far behind us, but the friendship had continued.

I thought about her question:  No, I don’t have an accountability partner, but I wanted one.  I had prayed about.  I had prayed off and on for years.

That was over a decade ago.

We still meet.  Two women looking each other eye to eye and answering tough questions:

  • How has God blessed you since we met last time?
  • What thought has consumed your thoughts this week?
  • Are the “visible you” and the “real you” consistent?
  • How is your relationship with Christ changing?
  • How have you helped someone in need?

I am indebted to my friend.   She helps me stay on the straight path.  She prays for me.  She knows my ugly stuff, and she loves me.  She believes in me.

This past week, I sat on my couch with eyes glued to CNN absorbing the horrifying details of a monstrous injustice.  Neighbors, family members, band mates — a whole community stood close by but never really knew a man.  They talked about superficial things.  They stood in his doorway, but never shed light in dark corners.  For a decade, darkness grew and poisoned a neighborhood without anyone taking notice.

I don’t want to make that same mistake.  I want to open my doors wide and let the sun shine in.  In his letter to the Ephesian church, Paul urges us to “walk in a worthy manner”  — he elaborates by stating:

“Therefore, having put away falsehood,

let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor,

for we are members one of another” (vs. 25, ESV)

The life of a disciple requires some form of accountability.  We must speak truth to our neighbor and allow our spiritual sister to come “sit for a spell” in the parlor of our heart.  She will have “an eye” for things that you might miss — letting her in will make your heart a more inviting place to visit.

Q4U:  Do you have an accountability partner who regularly visits your neighborhood?

Here is a free gift for you to share with your neighbor:  ACCOUNTABILITY QUESTIONS

2 friend with wording

 

 

 

 

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My one-word focus for the year is “fruitilicious.”  Find out what that means here.

Thanks for stopping by!  I would love to connect with you on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Joining like-minded sisters today at Faith-Filled Friday, Thought-Provoking Thursday, Tell His Story, Playdates with God, Hear it on Sunday: Use it on Monday, and Soli Deo Gloria.

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Photo Credit

23 responses

  1. Oh, Lyli…as I began reading this I could not take a breath as I read and read to the end. A special post for me, to say the least! I have had two special sisters in Christ who have moved…one to Oregon, one to Virginia. I am still in Texas. You have prompted me to pray for an accountability sister as, until this moment, I had forgotten that I needed and wanted one. Thank you so much for writing your heart here for my heart was so ready for yours. loving you, ~ linda

  2. For some of us who are almost housebound, it’s hard to locate those who would make caring “partners”. I don’t know that I’d call it an accountability partner, what I need is an “encouragement partner”, a Christian who cares enough, and has time enough, and is compatible enough in interests to hear who I really am, and for me to hear who she really is, without disparagement or discouraging words from either side. And oh, a praying partner!

    But I cling to my Jesus Christ Lord with as much strength as I can muster. And sometimes I feel well enough to leave comments for others online.

    Thanks for calling at my site.

  3. How delicious is fruitilicious! I am printing out your accountability questions. In our Christian community, We have groups and I have a pastoral leader. who asks me questions. :^) Thanks for this post! Good one! Patsy from HeARTworks

  4. Dear Lili
    This brings joy to my heart: every time I see someone receiving our Lord Jesus. I am glad you were there to steer her along and that she was your answer to prayer for someone to share your heart with and that can keep you on the right path.
    Blessings
    Mia

  5. What a gift, Lyli, to have such a friend and be such a friend! what a beautiful story. Our small group acts a an accountability group for us. When we meet, the first thing we do is “check in”–go around and each tell what is going on in our lives that particular week–where we are leaning on God or running from Him (as such can be the case sometimes :)). Thank you for making me think about ways to make it a more deliberate kind of accountability in our group.

  6. What a blessing that you have this accountability partner. And for so many years! That’s so unusual–what a great example. Thanks so much for the list of accountability questions; I downloaded a copy so I can use them with friends myself!

  7. “I want to open my doors wide and let the sun shine in.” Amen! Such a beautiful post, Lyli. I so enjoyed reading. Thank you for the questions too…I’m going to use these with my small group. I also have an accountability partner I meet with every couple weeks and she has been such a blessing my life. (((hugs)))

  8. Those are such great questions. I have many friends with whom I relate closely and spiritually, but not with such regularity and intention. Thanks for challenging me to think about this. Judy

  9. Hi,
    I linked after you at Tell His Story. Great story. And I used to have such a partner and we did pray regularly. But we moved 10 years ago. I pray with my Bible study once a week and I have a friend to pray with sometimes but no accountability partner. I will keep praying for one.
    Thanks for a great post.
    Janis http://www.janiscox.com I care because He cares for us. @authorjaniscox

  10. Great post, Lyli! I definitely need an accountability partner, too. I’m going to start praying for one right away.

    It is so true, we need friends to come inside where we live, both physically and spiritually. You made a good point when you mentioned the neighborhood where 3 women were captive. I daresay there are more neighborhoods where people never get to know each other and all kinds of darkness lurks unnoticed. May we all begin to notice the communities we live in.

    • I think isolation is a big tool of the enemy… Plus, if you look at the life of Christ, He was always in community. Yes, He had times alone where He rested and prayed, but the majority of His life He shared with friends.

  11. I love it when I come across such God-loving bloggers and their posts. It’s so freeing to be able to share and revel in loving God together in this crazy world, online and otherwise.

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