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Loving Thy Neighbor is Getting Harder Each Decade
by Rik Charbonneaux
6/12/2020 / Christian Living
"You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:31 ESV
Our nation's display of neighborly love toward each other has diminished by 75% over the past 40 years, as indicated by the results of a 2018 study of American Social & Demographic Trends, by the Pew Research Center.
During those four decades, Americans have been increasingly self-isolating, and doing even more so since the advent of social media twenty years ago. Currently, only 3 out of 10 rural Americans know their neighbors and only 2 of 10 urban dwellers know theirs, compared to five out of every ten during the 1980's.
As this trend in America continues, another one on the rise is loneliness. Over 50% of us now self-identify as such and if it were a disease, those numbers would be considered pandemic.
Even the University of Cambridge has recently advised that women are now twice as likely to be effected by anxiety as men and recommend that all women be examined for anxiety every year.* (theconversation.com - "Women are far more anxious than men – here’s the science" June 10, 2020
At a time when the closer you live to your neighbors the more likely you are to intentionally avoid them (PEW 2018 study), the more difficult it becomes for Christians to evangelize others and to be great social examples of just what it means to "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Mark 12:31 ESV
The "not-so-friendly neighborhoods" of both rural and urban America are here to stay and are no more likely to change than we are. To successfully share the gospel with an increasingly isolated people with require creativity, fresh approaches and evangelism's new look of on-line encounters and internet church efforts, where one set of means and methods starts a good work and then another set of skills, means and methods will further or finish that good work of evangelizing.
Many of the Faithwriters have said, "The Father has given us the ministry of reconciliation". I say let us work that great work in the best and most effective way that we can, either face to face or through social media.
As for our "not-so-friendly" neighborhoods and neighbors, let us freely example to them a genuine "love thy neighbor" smile of recognition and welcome. All will benefit.
A Most Suitable Quote: "When a lawyer asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” the Lord told him to be a neighbor. And He still does!" .. Eric Metaxas, BreakPoint Ministries
* theconversation.com - "Women are far more anxious than men – here’s the science" by Olivia Remes, Phd - Cambridge University, June 10, 2020
Rik Charbonneaux is a retired NE Iowan who loves all of God's creatures.
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