Monday, September 29, 2008

When will I learn?

Isa 55:9
For [as] the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

"Someone" wrote us an anonymous letter on Friday and said that our barking dog is breaking city codes. It wasn't a very nice letter. Written in all caps and complete with spelling errors.

It made me mad.

Fortunately, I'm not a gutsy kind of girl, or I might have marched over there and said something I would have regretted later.

We are great neighbors! We're fixing up this house, inside and out. My kids are respectful of other's property. We're not loud or rude or trashy.

We do have a 9 month old puppy.

Sometimes he does bark in the afternoon when the kids are home from school and getting their homework done instead of playing with him. I'm mean that way - I make them do their homework first. So shoot me.

The rest of the day, he knows he's on his own, so he's quiet.

We're talking about ~ maybe ~ an hour a day here, People. On a bad day. And in the middle of the afternoon. Maybe the occasional squirrel. That's it. He doesn't bark in the night. Doesn't sit out there and bark during the day. Did I mention he HAS been to obedience school (their suggestion) and he IS just 9 months old?

I feel unjustly accused here. Writing someone an anonymous note is downright dirty. And cowardly. To be so condescending when you can't even use a spell-check.

Here I go, again.

But in the midst of my anger, the Lord began to speak to me.

"Love thy neighbor."

But, Lord! We have wonderful neighbors! We do love them. They love us, too. They tell us, often, how much they enjoy the children and the laughter and the LIFE at our house. How pretty everything looks since we've moved in. How beautiful the Coach and our boys keep the yard.

Except for those neighbors - I don't know what their deal is.

Luk 6:32
For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them.
Luk 6:33
And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same.

Surely you don't mean I should love these people after how ugly they've been? What if I'm nice when I see them (hardly ever)? I can paste a smile on. That would please You, right? I won't complain about their teenager who comes in late at night and parks in their driveway with their lights shining in Baby Boy's room for 20 minutes while the bass from their stereo shakes our windows. I won't complain about their yard crew that comes twice a week and mows, blows, and trims while Baby Boy is trying to take his nap.

Luk 6:27
¶But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,
Luk 6:28
Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
Luk 6:29
And unto him that smiteth thee on the [one] cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not [to take thy] coat also.
Luk 6:30
Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask [them] not again.
Luk 6:31
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

There it is. It's not enough to tolerate our enemies. We need to BLESS them. Truly we can only obey God by His grace. It's not human. It's not natural. It doesn't make sense.

So, I'm going to try to keep the dog from barking, if at all possible. I'm going to smile at them. Be kind to them. Maybe make them cookies (I'm still working on that one - I don't make cookies for just anyone!).

Because IF they don't know Jesus, I want them to see Him in us. I'm pretty sure, after delivering that ugly note, that they won't expect us to be kind. Or to be humble. Or to do what they've asked.

If they DO file a complaint, I'll be honest with the city about the situation. Let them know we'll do everything we can to make it right.

It's just so hard!

However, if I respond like I FEEL - in anger - how am I any different from anyone else? If I defend myself, or retaliate, there is no glory there for the Lord.

Because of His grace. . .

Just keepin' it real.


Ariel said...

Good for you! He never promised us His Way would be easy but that He would help us. May you be a light shining in the darkness for your neighbors.

Jo said...

Bless you friend as you make others
"glad in God" and win them "without a word". This is as real as it gets. Hang in there.

Lori Leigh said...

So sorry about your neighbor problems. I would love to be your neighbor. Dog and all. :)

The She and I Show said...

Thank you for the sweet comment. I would love to catch up with you too! Hang in there with your neighbors. It could always be worse!

Anonymous said...

You are just too much, Mrs. Troop! ~ Making me smile and laugh on this day. I too would love to be your neighbor!! Sumer :)

Anonymous said...

I would find it fun to be your neighbor. Perhaps my dog could bark with your dog... keep perservering, or should I say keep working on using discretion- Recognizing and avoiding words, actions, and attitudes which would bring undesireable consequences- Christopher and I were memorizing this today. I know that God rewards actions and attitudes that follow His ways! :) Thanks for sharing that life is real.

Cindy said...

It hurts the pride, doesn't it? God has really been dealing with me on the issue of pride this past year, and I don't like what I've seen in my own life....even though I am usually justified in my feelings! It's so hard to bite the tongue and show love to people who WE feel don't deserve it! Thank God for His abundant grace, for me and my pride/selfishness and for nudging me to follow His way and not my own.

From a human perspective, you've got every right to be mad, but I so much admire you for rising above your human nature. :) Thanks for the encouragement.