Are you struggling to love a bad neighbor? In this Little Lesson, David Servant offers advice about how to show the love of Christ to people who aren’t easy to get along with. Learn more!
Today’s question is a great one, and I sympathize so much with this person who wrote to me. I just have to read the whole communication to you so you can hear it. Here’s what he says. He’s in Idaho. I’m sure there are a lot of great folks in Idaho, but I’m sure they’ve got their share of not so great folks too.
He says, ‘I have a neighbor with a totally dead yard filled with weeds.” Okay, that’s not looking good. “It is also the dogs’ dumping grounds.” It’s getting worse. “They keep having children, about one every two years. They’re a welfare family, so they’re cashing in. There’s always crying babies. They let their kids scream. I never know if there’s a real emergency or not. They smoke, drink, talk loud at night, also letting the dog bark at night. Basically, totally white trash.”
Isn’t your heart going out to this guy? “If there’s an opportunity to meet them and be a Christian, I will.” He’s, I think, implying that he hasn’t gone over to them yet. They’re driving him crazy, and if he gets the chance, he will, and he’ll be a Christian. “But I also pray for wisdom.” Good for you. “And wisdom tells me to stay away from them because I might say or do something to make the situation worse. Any thoughts?”
Well, first of all, my heart goes out to you and everyone like you watching this video who has a cordial problem neighbor. And first of all, it’s an opportunity to become more like Christ who was the friend of sinners, the lover of all people. Here’s the first thought.
Keep in mind, Jesus died for those white trash people. They’re living next to you with the weeds and the dog dirt and the screaming children and the barking dog. And you know, He actually died for their sins because He loves them. And He wants them to be transformed, to become good neighbors who love their neighbors and treat their neighbors as they want to be treated. And so they can be in heaven and be with lots of good neighbors forever and ever, actually living in the new earth with the new heavens. That’s God’s plan.
First of all, that’s my advice, try to look at them as God sees them. God’s a lot more merciful and kind than most of us are. But we have Him in us. It gives us the potential to also have love for those kinds of people.
Now to your point at the end, you said if there’s an opportunity to meet them and be a Christian, I will. All right. I’m going to encourage you. Go do it. Go over there and introduce yourself and don’t say anything negative, because you said you’re afraid you’re going to say something that would make the situation worse. Just don’t say anything negative.
In fact, it’s not like these are your enemies because they’re not against you. They don’t hate you, but this falls under that category of loving your neighbor. These are your actual neighbors. Maybe, not only go over and meet them, but take a pie or take a cake. Or if you see something that they obviously lack, you can take it to them. Okay?
All of us are a product of our own decisions, of course. But it’s not just that. We’re a product of our influences that affected us from the time we were very young. And there are so many people like the ones this viewer is talking about that grew up like this. And they don’t know anything better than this. And that’s their life. Their miserable life is all they’ve ever known, and you’ve got something so much better. This is your opportunity to let your light shine. Okay?
One thing I learned from some people who are great disciple makers is that rotten people often make wonderful Christians. It could be worse. These people could be deeply religious people who would never in a heartbeat listen to you because they’re so sure that their church is right. You’ve got some people who are just one step out of hell and their life is hell. They’ve probably known this all their lives.
This is as good as it has ever gotten for them. Go over there and you can do it. You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. Christ in you can give you the power to go over there, introduce yourself and be a Christian. And reach out and do something nice. Then try to build a relationship.
Don’t wait too long, you’ve got to wiggle Jesus into the conversation sometime. And maybe just tell your testimony and say, “Hey, at one time in my life, I, one, two, three, ABC, whatever. Something happened in my life that totally changed me. And now one, two, three, ABC, do you want to know what happened?” And see what they say.
Sometimes people like this are much more receptive than the people living in the nice neighborhoods who have their act all together. You’ve got a golden opportunity there. And when you say, “I pray for wisdom, wisdom tells me to stay away from them because I might say or do something to make the situation worse.” Okay, I get that.
But I’m just encouraging you that you’ve got Christ in you, and so you can do better than that. You don’t have to worry that you’re going to say or do something that would make the situation worse. Just make up your mind. I’m going to bridle my tongue. I’m not going to say anything negative. I’m just gonna ooze the love. And you will be blessed. I guarantee you. See, because this is how God works. You step out by faith to obey him and then He helps you. You can’t walk on the water unless you step out of the boat.
Get over there and do something nice. And maybe you could say, “Hey, I could watch your kids for a half hour tonight while you go out and take a walk together. We’ll stay here, and we’ll watch your kids.” And then you’ve put them on a swing set or something like that. Just some little act of kindness so they can see that you are nice folk. It’ll cause the wheels to begin spinning in their minds and affect their hearts.
This is a golden opportunity for the gospel and for your ministry. And this applies to anyone else who’s got a neighbor like this. And this is a bad one. I’ve had a few barking dog neighbors over the years and a few pooping dogs over the years, but I’ve never had this. I read that letter and I was just saying, “Well, I’m glad it wasn’t me.” But we all run into people that are hard to love on some level. We all do. They’re out there, and that’s our calling is to love people that you naturally wouldn’t love.
All right. Thanks so much for joining me on today’s little lesson. Hope to see you next time. God bless.