What Will the Neighbors Think?

Would you please just be quiet?” I hissed as my daughter raised her voice once again. My eyes darted back and forth, searching for any evidence that our neighbors were outside and within earshot. Since we’d moved here, I worried about what our neighbors must think of us. Life with a tween and a toddler is awfully loud a lot of the time, and it can be embarrassing.

One day, as I buckled my youngest into our car, I heard voices. I saw an open garage door and realized that another mom was just as exasperated (and expressive) as I often am. She hollered at her kids to get in the car, and it hit me: I’d been wasting time trying to control my family’s appearance when I could have been walking across the street to introduce myself (and my noisy kids). I’d neglected the chance to connect in my effort to impress.

It’s impossible to love our neighbors when we’re worrying about what those neighbors might think of us. Choosing love requires humility and honesty instead of perfection and protecting reputations. It might even mean letting our kids run wild in the front yard while we decide to meet that mom across the street.

For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.


This is an excerpt from our 365-day A Moment to Breathe Devotional Journal.