I remember traveling in the old USSR. It was a sad place. A pall of heaviness rested atop the nation like a dark cloud. To add to the spirit of control, the government used neighbor against neighbor as informants, aka “snitches” who informed on their neighbors for anything a fellow neighbor did that someone felt stepped outside the controlling track of government dominance. Even the smallest and most ridiculous things motivated some people to inform on their neighbors.
The Communist government had no semblance of loving your neighbor as yourself. It was all about control and dominance over the free will and creativity of the individual. How we treat our neighbor – the people who live on our street – is a hallmark of Christian love. Healthy relationships always function best face-to-face with openness and transparency, not suspicion or the betrayal that comes from being an informant.
Neighbors are the people we borrow a cup of flour from and they watch our home when we are away on vacation. They keep an eye out for a suspicious person prowling our shared street. They will also be there when a crisis visits our lives, offering us comfort and a hot meal. Don’t let fear or the mandate of an over-reaching government cause you to violate the sanctity of these neighborly relationships. Once violated, they release a dark cloud over a neighborhood and eventually begin to infect and erode the soul of a nation.