Love Your Neighbor

So I feel like God is trying to teach me something. These last few months have been very stressful and very difficult at our house. Our neighbors have been causing lots of problems, to the extreme extent of suing us and physically removing parts of our fence. Now for the most part, Ross and I have handled ourselves in what we consider to be a very good, adult manner. We haven’t engaged the neighbor, we haven’t been trying to ‘get her back’ or cause other problems for her, we have tried to keep our dogs off her side of the property line, we’ve been model neighbors. But we haven’t been as good of neighbors as we should have been. We talk about her behind her back (because we won’t talk to her face at all) and call her crazy bitch and other nasty names, we talk about how we think she’s being a horrible example for her daughter, we have been obsessing over what she’s doing and how it’s going to affect us. None of those things is particularly Christian behavior, even if it is behind closed doors where the only people who know about it are family and close friends.

So this week, I feel like God has pulled out the big guns to hammer His point home to me. (I bet He was trying to get me to see it since all of this started months ago but I was too distracted and overwhelmed by all my emotions that I didn’t get it at ALL) Last week, our pastor started a sermon series all about letting go and his sermon was focusing on letting go of old hurts and of things that other people have done to you. Danielle Butler posted on her blog about letting go of anger because it’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. She also pointed out that the Greek word for forgiveness means letting go. (That is now on my list of future tattoos) This Sunday, the pastor is going to preach on letting go of anger, which I have a lot of over this situation with the neighbor. And then to top it all off, I open an email to work on the bulletin for our satellite church and what is their service going to be about? Loving your neighbor, with Matthew 5:44 as the theme verse. (Matthew 5:44 – Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.) When I opened that email and saw a huge picture with that verse on it, I just started laughing.

Alright God, I get it. This is what I am supposed to be working on right now. I need to be loving this woman and praying for her, no matter how I feel about her and how she’s acting. While I am praying for peace in my own home and for a way out of this situation, I need to be praying that she has peace in her house as well. While I am praying for my husband’s health and well being, I need to be praying for the health and well being of her and her daughter. while I am praying that my dogs will soon be able to enjoy being outside again and that their health and happiness will not be negatively affected by this situation, I need to be praying that her little dog stays happy and healthy as well.

Now, no. This is not something that I particularly want to do. It’s human nature to want someone who has harmed or upset you to have to suffer too. But that is not what we as Christians are supposed to look for. We are supposed to love everyone the way that Jesus does, we are supposed to pray for them, and live at peace with them to the best of our abilities. (Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.) god knows that this is not easy for us, but He expects us to try and to trust in Him to help us to achieve it through Him. (Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.) It is our job as Christians to follow Christ’s example to the best of our ability and to trust that God will do the rest through us if we put our faith and trust in Him.

So Lord, this is me putting my trust in You that You will help me remember to pray for my neighbor and to love her with a pure Christian love. I got Your message loud and clear (finally) and I am working toward a more Christ-like attitude in this situation. I know that You never leave us, so I will never have to deal with a situation without Your help, so Lord please help me to do this. Help me to let go of my anger and my hurt. Help me to pray for my neighbors, not in a ‘Lord release your vengeance on them’ kind of way but for them to have peace and health and happiness. Help me to show Your love to everyone I come in contact with, no matter the situation or the behavior of the people around me. Help me as I strive to be more like You.

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