What to do when your neighbor yells obscenities….

Good Morning Gorgeous,

It’s a brand new day. A fresh start. It’s a new day to love like Jesus and relate to others like a brand new creation.

Since we are a new creation, we continually partner with our spirit rather than our flesh. As we partner with the spirit, we relate to people differently than the rest of the world.

And as we love radically, people see past our flesh and they get to see Jesus who is alive inside of us!

Friday night we had an opportunity to choose to react to one of our neighbors with our flesh or our spirit. We could show them ourselves or we could introduce them to Jesus.

It was about 8pm, and I was putting the twins to sleep. Chuck let Maxwell out back and hopped in the shower. Maxwell was out back alone and he began barking.

I went to let him in, and at the same time as I was calling him in, my neighbor was out back yelling obscenities really loudly. His yelling was making Max bark at him through the fence louder and louder. As I was calling Max inside,my neighbor yelled from his yard to mine, “Get that @%#^# dog back in the house!”

Chuck and one of my 6 year old twins came out back at the same moment our neighbor yelled. We got Max as quickly as possible and we all came in the house.

In the moment, the temptation was there to yell back that his language was not okay, or to tell him that our dog was only out for 5 minutes, or whatever the flesh inside of us wanted to say to “prove our point and set the record straight.” But all praise be to God, that neither Chuck or I engaged in any conversation with our enraged neighbor.

And our son who was right there miraculously never heard the neighbor yell. He wasn’t scared at all, and even though the neighbor yelled really loudly, he didn’t hear it! That alone was divine intervention.

As we went in, we talked about our reaction. We were shocked by what just happened and questioned if we handled it correctly. We both felt like we did. Instead of being angry with our neighbor, we felt sad for him. We were sad that it just took a dog barking for a few minutes to send him over the edge in such a way. And we both agreed that engaging in an argument with him would be the opposite of what Jesus would do.

The next day, I was out back with all of the kids and Maxwell. Our neighbor from the night before came out back carrying a bag of candy. He walked up to the fence and apologized for his cursing and yelling. He talked nicely to Maxwell and told me how much he loved animals, and that he was very sorry. I accepted his apology and we talked for a few more minutes.

As he walked away, I thought about how differently the situation might have turned out if either Chuck or I would have argued with him the night before.

I share this story just as a real life example of what it looks like to love like Christ. These are the moments when we have a choice. React like the world and give back to people what they expect or react like Jesus and shock them with an undeserving radical love.

This is what Jesus did for us. He chose love even before we turned to Him in faith. He died for a world that rejected Him. He willingly gave His life on the cross so that we could live. And the new life we live is that of a brand new creation. When we follow Christ, our flesh is crucified with Him, and we are a brand new creation that walks new, talks new, and reacts new.

Our neighbor was shown love in our refusal to yell at him in his fit of rage and then again we showed him love when we so easily reconciled the next day. As he came over and apologized, I immediately accepted it and felt peace between us.

This is Jesus!

Loving like Jesus looks like not getting the final say and sometimes no say.

Loving like Jesus looks like being patient in a long grocery line.

Loving like Jesus looks like giving the good parking spot to the other person.

Loving like Jesus looks like not having to prove a point.

Loving like Jesus means responding in a way that is counter to the “normal” response.

Loving like Jesus means not engaging in any family or workplace gossip.

Loving like Jesus is radical and makes people shake their heads in shock.

It is the outward demonstration of the spirit is working inside of us. It’s the moving from the flesh to the spirit.

This is our flesh or our “old ways”

And then as we become a new creation, this is our New Creation in the Spirit.

AND it goes right along with our memory verse! We are brand new creations now living from the new that Christ gives us!

Dear Heavenly Father,

Let us live from our new Spirit man rather than our old flesh. Let Your HOLY Spirit rest on us and work such a newness into us that we love in RADICAL, wild ways that leave everyone in our path wanting to know more about You! Give us opportunities to spread the gospel by our demonstrations of love. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

Blessings and Newness!

Vanessa Lynn

9 thoughts on “What to do when your neighbor yells obscenities….

  1. Wow! What a testimony of obedience. It is so easy for most of us, myself included, to lash back in situations like you described. After all, I can justify that I am in the right and the neighbor is in the wrong, allowing me to go off the handle in response. So when I say testimony of obedience, you and your husbands response was because you recognized in the moment who you are in Christ. This normally won’t happen if our relationship with the Lord is merely a casual one. It is the day in, day out living in the awareness of His presence that allows us to grow in His image. It was that image that spoke so clearly in your non-response that night.
    And isn’t it just like God to show Himself in the light of day through a repentant neighbor and a bag of candy for the kids.
    You and Chuck have inspired me this day to stay focused on the Lord, thus allowing Him to conform me evermore into His image.
    Blessings to you all and your neighbor!
    Pastor Chuck

  2. What a great example this story is for us today! We have so many opportunities to show the love of Christ or to show the destructive actions of our flesh. Thank you for sharing, Vanessa.

  3. Wow!! That’s amazing, you always have such sweet testimonies of faith to share! I love that you were able to witness firsthand how God worked in that!!

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