21st November 2019

Neighbours

“For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’”
Galatians 5:14 (NIV)

Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours…’ Do you know the song? There’s no doubt that some people move house because of poor relations with their neighbours. If you have lived next to challenging neighbours you will understand those who decided to up and move. You will understand how challenging it can be. So, what are we to do? After all, you may not be in a position to move. Is there another way? What does the Bible say?

You know the answer: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” Yes, that’s what the Bible says, but it’s the application of this command that is the real test. Where does one begin when you have people next door who wake you up, night after night, week after week, year after year? Or neighbours that gather in groups outside your place swearing, being rowdy, constantly playing loud music, doing drugs? Then there are the thoughtless neighbours who park vehicles outside your house causing friction over parking spaces. This is the stuff of 21st century living in the UK. These are very real trials are they not?

Such conflicts over lifestyle and modern living can be difficult to deal with and can lead to arguments, hardship, depression and moving home. It may not be easy to accept, but God is with us even in testing situations. So, first (and I’m talking to myself here too), go to God in prayer, persistently (Ephesians 6:18) and ask for peace, guidance, wisdom and strength to cope and deal with the trial. Pray to be able to see the offending neighbour/s as God sees them and to accept them. Ask God for help to change how you view and cope with the challenging conditions and the individuals involved. We can’t control what others do or say but we can choose how to deal with any given situation and here God’s loving hand to guide us is of paramount importance. As it says in Isaiah 58:11, “The Lord will guide you always…”

If you are in a conflict situation, pray that you can be a good neighbour and a blessing to your neighbours. You may be surprised by some of the reactions and outcomes you witness if you engage in a thoughtful, conciliatory way. You may be the only Bible your neighbours ever encounter. They may even change for the better, but if they don’t, try to love your neighbour as yourself anyway. Yes, it is a challenge, but rest assured that God is there to guide. He is our strength (Psalm 29:11) and shield, our Saviour in any given situation, in every joy, sorrow, trial or conflict. God is there to encourage us, ensuring us that He will stand by us (Hebrews 13:5). Thanks be to God.

Prayer
Heavenly Father, we pray that you will guide and strengthen us in every neighbourly conflict we face. Guide us as ambassadors of Christ to love our neighbours as you have commanded us to do. In Jesus’ name.
Amen

Study by Kevin Harris
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About the Author:
Kevin Harris attends the Watford Congregation of Grace Communion International in the UK.

Local Congregation:
Gracecom Watford
St. Peter’s Church
61 Westfield Avenue
Watford, Herts.
WD24 7HF

Meeting Time:
Saturday 11AM

Local Congregational Contact:
George Henderson
Phone: 01923-855570
Email: george.sueann.henderson49@gmail.com

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