Nasty Neighbor

Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

Romans 12:14 (NLT)

Some years ago, I was invited over to a church member’s house to give them some advice about an issue they were having. It was a pretty vague request, so I wasn’t sure what I was walking into. After I arrived and the small-talk died down, they got serious. The couple explained that they were having a terrible time with their neighbor. He was constantly harassing them and had even resorted to physical violence in an attempt to intimidate them. It wasn’t a good situation, and it did not look like it was going to resolve itself. They didn’t want to call the sheriff but were at their wits end with what to do.

As I listened, I really felt for this couple. How stressful it was to have a neighbor that was treating them horribly. I prayed for wisdom on what I could possibly say to them to help with the situation. The answer came back. It was Romans 12:14 echoing in my mind. “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them.

At that, I changed the conversation to find out more information about the neighbor. It turns out, his life was really rough. He had a lot of hurts, pains, and baggage in his personal life. My heart went from anger towards him for hurting my friends to feeling sorrow for what he was going through. So, I mentioned that we should pray for the neighbor; and that the couple should continue to pray for him. So, that’s exactly what we did. I left their home pleading with God to deliver this couple from their tormenting neighbor.

The next weekend, after church, the couple found me in the lobby and excitedly told me that things had calmed down with their neighbor. He was no longer harassing them. In fact, he apologized for his behavior and wanted to smooth things over with them. It was a miracle!

I bet you can relate somewhat to this story. Perhaps you don’t have a nasty neighbor, but I’m sure you can think of someone that makes your life difficult. If so, here’s God’s wisdom on that matter. Pray for God to bless them. Don’t pray for them to do this or that, or not do something. Pray that God will bless them. Then, trust, that through that blessing, God will do just that. Repeat as necessary and watch God’s miracle happen.

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