We had an interesting neighbor for a while. She had interesting friends too. One night, her party started somewhere after 2 a.m., and the music continued on for hours. I wanted to jerk a knot in her.
How would you have felt? What would you have done? What kind of neighbor are you?
I remember standing in my kitchen the next day and praying about what to say to this woman. I was mad. I did not really know her, and I did not want to start a fight. The music had woken me up. I don’t remember, but if it didn’t it could have woken the kids. Did I mention that I was mad? I was fit to be tied!
God gave me one sentence.
I waited until noon or so, and I went to confront her. I simply said to her something like, “I could hear your music last night.” She apologized. That was the end of the issue. I never heard her music again in the middle of the night. As a matter of fact, when she started up at 9 one night, I let it be known that I had just put the kids to bed. The music volume dropped immediately.
As different as we were, we managed to get along.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
There are 2 responsibilities here – your behavior alone and your behavior as a response to your neighbors. As Christians, we are to abstain from rioting, drunkenness, lewd behavior, strife, and envying. We are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ. When we respond to our neighbors in love, they need to be able to see Jesus.
Today’s challenge is to rethink any strife you have with your neighbors. What can you do to correct the situation while letting them see Jesus in you? Pray before you open your mouth.
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
Sometimes the statements we make to our neighbors need to be about us, not about them. I told my neighbor gently but firmly that I could hear her music. I did not tell her that she was too loud, or say anything else that could have stirred up her anger.