#3: Learn

Love Your Neighbor Challenge

Harry & Sherry were great neighbors – friendly, thoughtful and kind. We talked across the fence often. That’s why I was horrified when they signed the guest list at our last block party as “Harry and Beth.” Had I been calling her by the wrong name all these years?

“Ummmm… is your name Sherry or Beth?” I asked awkwardly.

“Yes!” she answered. Turns out, she goes by Sherry but her family calls her Beth. Whew!

Your next challenge in the Love Your Neighbor Challenge is to learn the name of one neighbor.

This is when you may have to swallow your pride and admit you don’t know your neighbor’s name, even if you’ve been casually chatting with them for years.
How to Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird, page 148

You might have to have that embarrassing conversation when you say—

“I’m so sorry. I should know your name but I can’t recall. Could you please tell me your name again?”

There, that wasn’t so hard, was it? Get the awkward conversation over with, and move on. 

Try these tips to remember your neighbor’s name for keeps:

  1. Don’t say you’re terrible with names, because it can give the impression that their name isn’t worth remembering.
  2. Ask another neighbor for help.
  3. Repeat their name and use it in your conversation as often as you can without sounding unnatural.
  4. If it’s an unusual name or one that could be spelled several ways, ask them to spell it—this also helps burn their name in your brain.
  5. Make a play on words: Create a mnemonic device (Bill lives on the hill) or alliteration (Peggy was petting a puppy) to help you remember.
  1. Use their name when you say goodbye.
  2. Tell them your name in case they’ve forgotten, too. “And I’m Amy, and my husband is David.”
  3. Write it down! Writing their name creates a visual memory. Make an address book just for your neighborhood.
  4. Create a contact on your phone. I always add “NEIGHBOR” to my neighbors’ contact so I can search for them all at once.
  5. Fill in their name on your map, along with any other details you picked up from your conversation.

“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Dale Carnegie

Jesus knows your name

I’m a huge fan of The Chosen, the first multi-season show about the life of Christ. The first episode ends in a tavern where a lost and desperate woman known as Lilith has given up all hope. Jesus pursues her, calling her by her given name and her neighborhood, Mary of Magdala. He speaks the words from Isaiah 43:1 over her brokenness,

“Thus says the Lord who created you and he who formed you: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.

Knowing someone’s name is a sign of your esteem for them. It shows you have seen them, noticed them, and care for them. It is respectful, kind, and thoughtful to know, remember, and use someone’s name. 

Your name is written on God’s hand (Isaiah 49:16).

Jesus calls you by name (John 10:3).

Be like Jesus. 


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