Back fifteen years ago we moved into a nice neighborhood subdivision in another state. The move was difficult for us and our family because moving is one thing but trying to make friends with your neighbor is another. Once we got to the place after driving eleven hours straight with the U-haul, we were exhausted and homeless. We were to close on the house the next day and the home was empty, however due to the paper work they put it off until the following week and wouldn’t let us move in. We stored all of our items in a friend’s garage and rented storage. I remember crying and thinking, homeless and going to have depend on someone else to put us up because hotel was too expensive. We made the best of it and put sleeping bags in the living room and Jeff and I slept on their couch for a week.
Once we moved in, the neighbor started the feud. Our dog, who loved to bark was uneasy being in a strange place and she barked several times throughout the night. At 3 a.m. a knock from a police officer came to our door explaining that we would have to muzzle our dog because it was disturbing the neighbor. This was our experience the first night. Within a week, the boys were playing ball and it rolled over in the neighbor’s yard and they crossed the property line to get it, can you guess what happened? Yes, he called the police again to tell us to keep our children out of his yard. Another time, the boys had a toy bow and arrow set, yes, he called the police again and said we had weapons and the boys were going to kill someone. The first time the police was called was annoying, the second time was upsetting but the third time within two weeks of living there was ridiculous. Throughout the entire ten months of living in this subdivision, the neighbor built a wooden privacy fence up against our chain fence in the backyard which looked terrible with grass growing between the fences and was out of regulation with House Association. We could not figure out why they let him do this. The House Association would tell the owners to paint their house a certain color, fine you if you let your grass get to high, park vehicles only in drive and etc. Why didn’t they make him take his fence down? We found out that he was a ex-officer for the city. He was married with no children. He must have been really unhappy to make everyone around him miserable too. We started praying for him through the gritting of our teeth.
One day, my husband had enough of the senseless tales on us. The neighbor was standing outside and Jeff walked over to discuss the problem he had with our family. I stood in the yard hoping the punches wouldn’t fly, although I didn’t think my husband would fight it out. However, I knew Jeff would stand up and protect our family from such silly tactics to either make us unhappy or move. Face to face, the man backed down and was a coward and not so tough. Jeff asked him what problem he had with us and the man had no answer. Jeff told him if he had a situation in which needed to be discussed that he should walk over and tell us, not call the police. From that point on, we didn’t hear from the man again, he lived like a hermit in his home and never came out. Jeff was polite but stern.
I think many times in our life, we do have unhappy neighbors and we have to make the best out of it. We do also have enemies that come against us, trying to upset us or make us outrageously angry. In the spirit world when we move into a territory of theirs, they won’t like it and will try to make you move out. However, when you face them head on with the power of God living in you, they are only cowards. I believe this to be true, we were being tested by the spirit world in our reaction to the situation. At first they succeeded to make us angry and upset and it wasn’t until we stood up to the giant that it ceased. God always gives us the courage to face any situation but we must be willing to take the step across the yard and tackle the issue, ready to fight if needed to protect our family. If you don’t do the right thing then you will keep getting whipped again and again with the enemy. I always tell everyone, “You will keep going through the same thing time and time again unless you learn how to do it right”.
We didn’t move back to Kentucky because of the neighbor, but because God directed us back home out of the wilderness. Living there was our wilderness and trying of faith time. Sometimes we failed yet through that experience of being homeless, police visits, unhappy neighbors and fences, God saw us through it all and He provided. The experience only made us stronger and a little wiser, even with the hidden emotional scars.
The next time you have an unhappy neighbor, pray for him. He is struggling in his own world with hurts and the only way he can ease it is to hurt others in the process.
Prayer: I know Lord it is hard to love someone who doesn’t return the action because my flesh wants to strike back. Forgive me when I think of revenge with harsh words or actions. Teach me your ways God that I may always show your loving kindness and mercy. Most of all I want to be obedient to your word, “Loving others as I love myself.” In Jesus name. Amen
Mark 12:33 New International Version (©1984)
To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Matthew 5:43-44 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.