“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (
Friend To Friend
I hate to admit it, but there have been times when I have pulled in my welcome mat from the front porch. Once, a neighbor became furious with me for correcting her child. She called and told me what a terrible person I was. Who did I think I was for correcting her little angel? I won’t go into all the gory details, but let’s just say she was less than flattering. I did apologize but decided on a new no-nonsense policy for dealing with my neighbors.
“Lord, I have a plan,” I said. “Here’s the deal. I am not going to make friends with any of my neighbors. I am going to keep to myself, stay in my own yard, and play with my own toys. I am going to remove the welcome mat at the front door and make sure the alarm-system warning sticker is displayed in a prominent place. No borrowing a cup of sugar. No talking over the fence. No anything! I am even going to import my son’s friends. This “Just Say No to Neighbors” policy is in effect immediately.”
The next day, I dropped my son off at a YMCA basketball camp. At pick-up time, we moms were standing around talking while waiting for our sons. There was a pretty blonde there, and I heard someone ask where she lived. “I’ve just moved from the Myers Park area of town to Stratfordshire Drive in the Matthews area,” she said. Then she looked over at me and smiled.
That was my street! She knew I had heard her, and she knew I lived on that street. I politely returned her smile and felt panic creep in. What was I supposed to do? My new policy had been in effect for less than forty-eight hours.
I told God that I would introduce myself, but I reminded Him of my “Just Say No to Neighbors” policy. After all, I did not want to be rude, just distant. I introduced myself to Debi, welcomed her to the neighborhood, and chatted for a few minutes. Then I grabbed my son by the shirt and scurried away.
That afternoon there was a knock at the door. When I looked out the window, guess who was standing on my porch? None other than my new cheerful neighbor, Debi who was just dropping by to say hello. As I opened the door, I again reminded the Lord of my plan, just in case He had forgotten. My guard stayed up for about five minutes after she strolled into my house.
Debi walked into the sunroom and exclaimed, “Oh look, we have the same china pattern. And I see you like to collect things with bunnies on them. I just love bunnies, don’t you? I have them all over my house. Oh, look, we even have some of the same bunnies!”
We discovered that we both enjoyed decorative flags and had one for each month of the year. Then with a luminous smile, Debi said, “You know, when we moved in and I saw the cute flag with the firecrackers hanging by your porch, I just knew we would be friends.” And we have been ever since that day. We go to flea markets together and reach for the same items. We paint together, look for bargains together, and go on garden tours together. And although I had been quite capable before, now it seemed I could no longer make any home decorating decision without first getting her opinion.
My “Just Say No to Neighbors” plan lasted less than two days. Since then, I have opened my heart and home to other neighbors, and many have become my extended family. I’m so glad that God ignores my silly resolves. After all, it’s His house too.
Heavenly Father, may Your presence continually fill my home as I invite others within its walls. May it be evident that You are the Great Host within who permeates every nook and cranny with Your grace and love. Help me to be faithful with the divine appointments You give with neighbors and friends each day. Help me to keep the welcome mat of my home freshly swept and ready to greet all who come my way.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Take some time to pray over each room in your home.
Start with your doorway. Pray that those who enter your house would not only find an open door for friendship and love, but an open door to know and experience Christ personally.
Consider what makes each room special and ask God to make His presence an active part of that room’s environment.
Pray for each chair-that those who would sit in them would find great rest and fellowship in reclining there.
Pray over each bed-that those who would sleep in your home will find peaceful sleep and comfort during their stay.
Pray over anything else you feel is an important part of your home environment-that God would be glorified in each object and activity that takes place there.
Thank you for this wonderful devotion. After always having our home open to people, I have been starting to feel this way, not just towards my neighbors, but towards “strangers” who could become possible friends. I never felt this way until I had children and I feel this strong need to protect them and keep our home closed because if I let anyone else have the chance to come into our home, then there is a possibility that my children could get hurt. Thank you for this scripture and reminder of how important fellowship is.
Your devotion reminded me of a similiar time in my life. I had just had a close friendship end and i vowed to God that I would never ever have another friend again. I would never open up and share my life with anyone. It’s just too painful. Just a short time later a new family came to our church. After a day where i sang and gave testimony, this women came to me and informed we that we were going to be life long friends. i was thinking “yeah right!”…but God had other plans. that was 7 years ago and God has taken us to places i’d never thought i’d be in my life…ie. mission trip to africa, prison ministry…it has been totally awesome to do God’s work together. the most amazing thing about this kindred friendship is that God used her in my life to heal me of wounds that no one knew but God himself. He placed her in my life at a crucial time when i was ready to leave this world behind and face eternity unkown. God spoke to her and told her of my wounds, and he used her to heal me. I am so thankful to God and to know that he knows what we need and when we need it. God removed one friend to bring in the godly/spiritual friend i always desired and needed. thank you for sharing your story to remind me and others how good God really is
Very inspirational. This hit home with me because I just pulled the welcome mat for someone who continually only arrived at my home to use me for financial gain for themselves and who tossed me to the curb after constantly using me up emotionally.
This person only came to do laundry and eat me out of house and home. I met numerous other needs for this person as well all costing me gas, time, money and self-respect. This person forgot how to be a friend once needs were met. I kept praying and kept the mat out for three years just to be met with degradation every step of the way. I am not even sure I will ever forgive this person’s self-serving ways and ill-treatment of my giving of love and friendship.
Thank you very much for allowing God to use you to reach others. God has recently spoken to me about ‘cleaning my house’ spiritually and praying over every room in my home. My husband and I are at the door step of divorce, difficult to say. Several family members have commented on the empty and depressed feeling they get when they come over. As I rise this morning to your (or His, better put) words, it reminds me of the need to be obedient to our Lord. It is important that as mothers, wives and/or home keepers we continue to pray over our homes so that others feel the warm presence of the Lord and to ensure that those who live with us find it a safe, peaceful, and joyful haven. How good our God is, that he reminds us of the next steps and is so patient with us as we learn to be obedient.
Thank you very much again, your messages are very motivational and are always an inspiration. God Bless You!
Hi Sharon, I love this one 🙂 If you had never opened your heart then you would never have gained a friend. Thanks for the great devotional, may God continue to use you as a vessel of honor until He calls you home! God bless 🙂
I have to say….I pulled up my welcome mat after a similar situation. I have been real gun shy about putting down the welcome mat again. Thank you for your insight. I’m sure God has great things for me if I obey : )
Thank you for allowing God to use you to send me a message. In the past two days (in fact, just a few minutes ago), I have been talking about how I don’t let people in because I fear losing people I love or I want to avoid negativity.
God used you to remind me that all I do is for His glory. I have to open up for His benefit. I guess I’ve used this avoidance as a cop out. Thanks again for the timeliness of your message.
Wow!!! I just love when God’s message continues to surface day after day after day. It’s a continued lift, motivation and confirmation that all is well with my soul. Sunday my pastor reminded us that after Jesus baptism, he was tempted by Satan in the dessert. This morning July 22nd’s bible reading, after opening the bible, allowing the Holy Spirit to direct my reading, was John 3 and 4th Chapter, the exact reading of Sunday’s message. I get to work and share it with a fellow (male) Christian and the administrative assistant and we discussed that it is very important for us to understand that our trials and tribulations allows us to know that we are a threat to the enemy and that we are on the right path to the Promise Land and then I get your reading. Once again a definite, WOW!!!!! moment. It was a WOW!!! moment on Sunday and again one today. WOW!!!! I am so excited for Christ, my breath is constantly taken away in awe. Thanks for allowing me to share.
Sorry this was a comment to July 20th reading. My mistake.
I love this! There are many times I have pulled in the welcome mat in my life. I want a friend like that. I remeber when I used to pray over our home, this is a fresh reminder. I am going to begin again and pray for a friend like that – Thanks!