Neighbor 10: is a Stranger

From the day we learn to walk (if not before) we are taught not to talk to strangers. Everyone has heard the term “Stranger Danger”. And for good reason, we need to teach children to be suspect of strangers, no doubt. When I hear this term, however…I think about the scene from Kindergarten Cop…check it out.

Good morning.
– Good morning, Mr. Kimble.
Sit down. It’s very nice to see you all again. Meet my very good friend, Phoebe O’Hara.
– Good morning, Phoebe.
Miss O’Hara is going to talk to you about something very important. So pay attention to what she has to say, okay?
Remember, no fear.
– Thanks.
– Boys have a…. Girls have a…..
Well, you taught them the basics.
– That’s important.
Okay, now…today we’re going to talk about something else that’s really important. Today we’re going to talk about strangers.
If a stranger knocks on your door…never answer the door. Because we never talk to strangers. Let’s say that together.
– We never talk to strangers.
– Can we talk to kids?
Yeah, it’s okay. You can talk to kids.
– What about dogs?
– Can we talk to dogs?
Yeah, you can talk to dogs. But what you can’t do…what you must never ever do is…never talk to strangers.

In the parable of the Good Samaritan, the injured man was a stranger…was unknown to the Samaritan, yet he stopped to help the man. We are surrounded by strangers all the time. Our neighbors are often strangers. We have clients, co-workers, vendors, cashiers, soccer moms, teachers, etc. who are all strangers to us. Coach states…

Mature persons in Christ are no longer children. We have the ability to discern when a situation is safe enough to intervene and offer our help to a stranger in need.

I think back to the night Frank was shot. Some people think we are totally crazy for going out there just moments after he had been shot 9 times. But, in my mind and heart, there is no doubt that the Holy Spirit guided us that night and knew when to send Louis and I out there to help Frank, who was a stranger to us at the time. The Spirit knew when it was safe enough for us to help. We weren’t medically trained, and we certainly didn’t have the police skills to handle the situation. I was just an HR person and Louis – a pastor. My medical training came from watching Medical Center and Marcus Welby, MD as a child, then ER and Grey’s Anatomy as an adult. That’s it. But, we were spiritually trained to know when and how to respond to someone’s extreme need. It was up to us to obey. Although, it was so automatic, we didn’t even give it a second thought. Once the scene was clear…we went. No questions asked.

Coach also reminds us of Hebrews 13:2

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

So, as God-fearing, Spirit-driven mature Christians, we need to unlearn what we learned as a child – Stranger Danger. If not, we just might miss an angel – an encounter with the God most high.

Open our eyes, Lord. May we learn to see people as You see them. Teach us to respond as You would….to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, to care for the widows and orphans, to see prisoners as though we were in prison next to them, to see the abused as one who has also been abused. Lord, teach us to appropriately minister in these and other situations. We want and need to better discern when and how we should respond. We need wisdom. Lord – we need to learn to slow down and pay attention to those who are hurting around us. Our calendars are so full and we are so busy running to-and-fro. May we have the time to notice and respond. In the name of Christ I pray. Amen.


This is the 10th post in a series that I wrote about in a series that I wrote about in a post called who is my neighbor? series. I am reading who is my neighbor? by Wayne Gordon and exploring just one chapter a week. In addition, I hope to post on each Wednesday. The first post in the series can be found here: Neighbor 1: Hurting.