One might say I have the neighbor from hell! Certainly even up to late last year I would have agreed.
I moved into this house about 3 years ago. About 3 months after, this neighbor who I shall call Betty introduced herself. She was nice enough as she tried to take over my life. This went on for about 3 months, I didn’t get a days rest! To illustrate, one time something woke me up early in the morning, I got up and went into the family room to find her children had made themselves at home watching my tele. They had gone via the backyard through the dog door. I was stern and when I asked why they had done this, the young one informed me that ‘mum told us to do it’. That night when I brought it up, Betty acted shocked as if the children had done it without her knowledge. As she went to pull them up I intervened and told her I knew she had told them to do it and that it was unfair on them and unfair on me. She had no explanation and claimed ignorance. Well that was the demise of a so called false friendship.
I know Jesus said ‘if they smite you give them your other cheek also’ but he also said do not give your ‘pearls to the swine’. Bearing false witness – interesting commandment. The daily lifts at the moment are on the 10 commandments which made me think about some of the experiences I have had, too many to mention but a couple stand out.
Betty told lie upon lie. We certainly should never believe a lie and we should never let it rule our lives. Just when it seemed more than justified to pull her up for unacceptable behavior, she would do something nice. I found it an amazing really challenging time. She ignored my requests to be respectful and although not directed at me at the time, her seeming spiteful behavior, became a warning to tread carefully. As our children went to the same school I didn’t want the situation to impact on them.
During those first 6 months I became wise enough to always question her intent and where it could lead. Friends advised me to not just set the boundaries, but enforce them. Others told me it was a territorial thing – a history with the man who use to live in my house. It was comforting that another neighbor told me she was so grateful I ‘wasn’t sucked in by the neighbors facade’. I was grateful for the support and insights. How many times have you been invited to her house? once, how many times has she been at your house? everyday! I had to do something. Tensions developed as I started to enforce boundaries, pulling her up when she was visiting if she started to wander about the house as if she owned it, etc. Although I was being more and more neighborly as neighbors should be and it appeared to be working, it was apparently tension was mounting.
She got a boyfriend, someone I had been good friends with as our girls played together at school. She then made up false accusations against me that were quite nasty. Although she never said things to my face I heard back what was being said. Those who knew me knew what she said wasn’t true, those who knew her knew what she said wasn’t true. At least that gave me some sense of comfort. At one point I informed her I knew of her lies and I was very disappointed in her behavior. About 3 weeks later she sent me a text message apologizing, acknowledging they were lies, that she had just made them up and didn’t know why. Unfortunately that wasn’t the end of it.
It started again, more personal and targeted directly to other parents at school. It was at this time she started saying negative things about my daughter and my son, sly remarks under her breath, snickering and dirty looks. Her children started being nasty to my daughter at and after school and she would come home from school crying because she had an altercation of some sort with Betty or her children. It was like a bad dream, actually it was a bad dream.
It was at this point, about 12 months ago when due to a friends dire circumstances, I turned to God to gain the correct mental view of man. This turning to God didn’t just touch my experience with my friend, thankfully it touched my whole life experience.
“But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.” Matthew 5:39
‘resist evil not’?
Resist definition: To strive to fend off or offset the actions, effects, or force of. To remain firm against the actions, effects, or force of; withstand.
‘and who shall smite thee on the right cheek give him the other cheek also”
So in other words – Do not fight evil, but overcome evil with good, God. Let God do his work, just live, be in the Truth that you know. Let God do it!
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Roman 12:21 And what is good – God! overcome evil with God, Love. “and Love is reflected in love” MBE but don’t go giving your pearls to swine… don’t get sucked in by the carnal mind…
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6 ‘Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am the Lord” Leviticus 19:18
and “Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” Exodus 20:16
In other words, in my experience, in my thinking am I accepting the ‘mortal dream’ or having the mind of Christ and bringing Christ into my experience? Is there really a neighbor from hell? No, the only neighbor from hell is the neighbor from hell that I create in my own head. It is much easier to step on the serpent than slay the dragon.
and he asked Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said to him, you will love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second, like unto it, You will love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:36-40
And the Lord’s prayer – Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
“THOU SHALT NOT BEAR FALSE WITNESS AGAINST THY NEIGHBOR.” Exodus 20:16
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7
So I figure I should not to put up with error but to continue to love and to accept only God’s kingdom and to know it no matter what the material senses are saying, to live in love and see only love ’round about me and in my experience.
So how does the story end? Well I have a clearer sense of my neighbor, not from hell but in reality as God’s beloved child. My daughter and I have discussed how we can keep loving them and knowing them as Gods children and see that this meanness, hatred, whatever it is that is not good is a lie, the ‘devil’ or carnal mortal mind tempting us to believe something that is not real because not of God. That this seeming behavior is not really part of them and certainly not part of our experience.
I feel at peace, in harmony now and where is Betty? She is across the road – where she belongs, in her house. Our children play together at school and walk home together from time to time. On occasion, when her younger one is locked out and would be home alone, she comes over and goes back home just before her mother returns. The last time the young one came over her mother got home before she had time to get across the road. My daughter rang asking what to do and she suggested she get her friend to sneak home. I agreed as I couldn’t think of anything else that was better from a humanly logical perspective. I hung up and affirmed that God was looking after the situation.
My daughter rang back and I asked how it went. She said she decided not to hide or support her friend lying about where she had been so she took her friend home and told the mother she had stayed at our house instead of being locked out. The mother thanked her and my daughter came home. We are grateful for this demonstration. Even if we are on different roads we can know that we are all God’s children in reality and have respect for one another. We can love our neighbor as ourselves and not bear false witness.
In Science and Health Mary Baker Eddy reminds us “Our baptism is a purification from all error. Our church is built on the divine Principle, Love. We can unite with this church only as we are new-born of spirit, as we reach the Life which is Truth and the Truth that is Life by bringing forth the fruits of Love, – casting our error and healing the sick. Our Eucharist is spiritual communication with the one God. Our bread, “which cometh down from heaven,” is Truth. Our cup is the cross. Our wine the inspiration of Love, the draught our Master drank and commended to his followers. The design of Love is to reform the sinner. If the sinner’s punishment here has been insufficient to reform him, the good man’s heaven would be a hell to sinner. S&H 35:19-36:1
What was the sin that needed correcting? The belief that God is not in control – of everything and that everything is good. To think that there is an existence separate from God that has power. That hell is as real of heaven when really it is simply the inverted image of consciousness – a false sense.
“Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.” Matthew 7:6 We must always be on guard and protect ourselves from the belief that the carnal mind exists or has power. Mary Baker Eddy says to stand porter at the door in thought and only let in those things that you want realized. That is so so true, not to get sucked in by the material evidence that is not of God.
Remembering that this is my spiritual awakening – about knowing, living and being in God demonstrated through the body of my experience.
Inspired by: “Being a true witness” http://christianscience.com/prayer-and-health/inspiration/your-daily-lift/6-28-being-a-true-witness #DailyLift