We've been having a bit of a turf war over our shared driveway and it has really hardened my heart towards him. I've had a very "I'm right you're wrong" attitude towards him. I've felt offended and put out every time he approaches me (when he's not ignoring my hellos). After the shock from yet another unpleasant interaction (or note left on my windshield) wears off, I usually cry and call T.J. to vent and then it just makes me want to dig in my heels even more, and sit up straighter on my high horse.
T.J., my parents, my sister, they've all heard me defend my rightness and proclaim his wrongness, and they've been on my side which only helps me to justify the line I've drawn in the sand (or down the middle of the driveway).
And I think I could keep this up for the next four years until we move away and it's no longer my problem. Except...unfortunately for my pride.... I can't ignore this niggling, nudging, tap tap tapping on my shoulder from the Lord.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; AND, 'Love your neighbor as yourself." Luke 10:27.
Dang it. There's really no way to look at that where I come out feeling good about my heart towards my neighbor. It's plain and simple, just tacked on the end there, and its convicting. How do you love God? You love His people.
Or I can love my neighbor, I can give him grace.
Just imagine if God crossed his arms and wrote us off as rude and impossible when we rightfully deserve it. Instead he gives me grace, humbles me, and softens me with his love.
So I can love him by not running and hiding inside every time I see my neighbor watering his lawn. I can love him by turning the other cheek, by not keeping a record of perceived wrongs, and by giving up the weak satisfaction I get from being "right." I can love him by crossing the line down the driveway and meeting him where he's at. And honestly I don't know where that is. I don't know what hard season he might be in, I don't know his heart, or his hurts but I do know that I don't want to add to them.
Appropriately enough, I got this perfectly timed package in the mail yesterday. Two words. GIVE GRACE. A reminder that grace is a gift, something you can't earn or deserve. Grace, like I've been shown by Jesus, His love, the gift of life everlasting. Bought and paid for when I was still messy and prideful and stubborn and deep in my sin. Grace we're meant to breathe in and exhale out.
**Temporary tattoo from Scarlet & Gold as part of their Give Grace Campaign: A reminder to give grace to those going through hard seasons and that by sharing our struggles we can encourage and support one other. See more about it here.