I have to admit, I chose this book partly because the title made me giggle. How to Love Your Neighbor- without being weird by Amy Lively proved to be more rewarding than a simple laugh. Lively is a talented and engaging storyteller. She infectiously brings you into her home and her heart, sharing her journey of faith and obedience of loving her neighbors. This book chronicles her foundation in faith, a stretch of faithless wanderings, and finally a rejuvenation and redemptive story for not only herself but her marriage and family.
"How to Love your neighbor" is the challenge to completely abide and obey the commandment of "loving they neighbor". Lively defines what a neighbor truly is, the doors to which people enter our lives, how to use your God given gifts and aptitudes in an active way, how to be intentional about interacting with neighbors, and the challenges we may face and how to overcome them. And it all points back to who Jesus was on Earth and how God designed his people to be.
Some of my favorite lines from the book were:
"I'd rather go to Africa than across the street"
"Your home is where people put their feet up and let their guard down. It's where relationships go deep."
"It's weird to insist that everyone enter a relationship with you through one door- the Religion Door. It's weird to approach your neighbors with an agenda."
Lively writes a wonderful and challenging book. It would work superbly as a small group study or book club as it has great questions to ponder and/or discuss. There are also challenging action points she presents to help you set a plan into motion to meet your neighbors and begin growing those relationships.
I know I have been challenged as an introvert that there is "no exception clause" to this commandment and that I spend far too much time connecting with "friends" on flat screens than I do in the "original social network" my neighborhood.
How to Love Your Neighbor by Amy Lively (check out its site too) is worth the read and worth the sacrifice to implement.
*I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my unbiased review.