Do tall fences really make better neighbors?
If your neighbor has chickens or a dog that bites, I guess it might be true.
But generally speaking, building walls around what is mine doesn't help me "love my neighbor as myself" as Jesus commanded.
When it comes to building relationships, picket fences aren't the biggest barriers to being the neighbor that Jesus calls us to. Three bigger relational barriers are: time, fear, and unforgiveness. These are real obstacles to our building relationships with our neighbors even those we already know.
So how do we conquer these obstacles? I believe we have to look back at the beginning to understand the root of the problem before we can overcome them.
The root of our problem comes from the fall. Back when Adam and Eve chose to rebel from God's way, they had their eyes opened to seeing right and wrong for the first time. Something they weren't (we aren't) designed to see. This was the beginning of our life inside these barriers. We see us as more important, we see "others" as threats, and we see their "wrong" rather than their "need".
Jesus, though, in relationship with the Father, truly saw people as God wanted him to. When the woman caught in sin was brought before him. He saw her as an equal rather than as less than. He saw a woman in position for healing rather than a threat to righteousness. Jesus saw a woman in need of grace rather than a woman in sin needing his judgement.
We overcome these relational barriers when we see others as God does; and that begins when we see ourselves as he sees us:
Forgiven, Redeemed, Chosen, Adopted, Loved, Adored, Accepted, Free, Renewed, Complete, ...