This morning I was reading the daily readings with the children. The gospel was Luke 6:27-38 where Jesus is talking about loving your neighbor, not seeking revenge, and generally doing good with no expectation of it being recipricated. After we were done, my oldest daughter said, "Mom, that really isn't how people live today, is it?" We talked for a minute and then the rest came out. Yesterday, the little neighbor kids had told her sister that she was mean, not their friend, and to get out of their yard. Ouch - my heart was broken.
So we re-read the gospel and I asked God to tell me what to do. The neighbor children's dad happened to be in his yard doing some fall clean-up. I knew that I had to go talk with him. I told him what had happened yesterday and asked if he could please talk to his kids about it. Parents are their children's first and primary educators and I'm pretty sure this message must have gotten to the children via their parents. I don't know why, but there has never been a good relationship with these particular neighbors. From my perspective, we've always been friendly, but never really "clicked" with them. Although they've never actually said anything to me directly, you kind of figure things out and catch the vibe from body language and other people's comments. Well, today he layed it all out there. According to him, we're hated by the entire neighborhood (except for a few "radicals" who actually like us - his words, not mine) and they can't wait for us to sell our house and move. Then he threw in a few explitives and insults and the rest of his message was delivered. ((Deep cleansing breath)) Through God's grace, I was able to stay calm, unemotional, and focus only on the relationship between our two families.
Our morning was busy, and I almost skipped over prayer time to accomplish other tasks. Thankfully, God tugged at my heart and told me to slow down and make time for Him. The Holy Scriptures were there for us today with a message that we really needed. Where do we go from here? How can we repair this relationship? Is it even worth repairing? There's a part of me that says, hey, it's their problem if they don't like us. I'm done trying to make this work. Then there's the better part of me that knows I need to act like Jesus and I don't think that he'd walk away without trying. I think we'll start with pleanty of prayer and ask for the wisdom to have the words that need to be said in a charitable manner. And to look at things objectively and find the truth to help us grow into better people from this unpleasant experience.
Gospel for the Mass: 9/17/17- Matthew 18:21-35
22 hours ago