5.13.2015 "Love God! Love Your Neighbor as Yourself!"

Mark 12:28-34 28 One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[b] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[c] There is no commandment greater than these.”

32 “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

34 When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.

So not long after moving into our new home the house next door, which was also for sale, was purchased by…you guessed it…the neighbor from you know where. One of the most irritating things she did was to park her car in front of our house. There was nothing in my neighbor’s driveway, or in front of her house.   She wasn’t mowing her lawn or cleaning out her garage. There was no reason, in our minds for her to do this and it was done with such frequency it became a source of irrigate for us.   Sometimes, she would park it there for days while she was out of town. We became suspicious that perhaps she was involved in something that made her want to conceal where she lived. If that was the case we certainly didn’t want our house to be mistakenly identified as hers.

So we began to try to encourage her to use her driveway or park her car in front of her own home. When we tried to approach her directly we were meant with an icy stare and, “you don’t own the street, I’ll park where I want.” The behavior got worse. Next stop, the neighborhood association. That worked for maybe two weeks. Then the behavior worsened once again. At one point she parked in a way that partially blocked our driveway. She only moved it when a Code Enforcement officer show up to write her a ticket.

It was incredible how this affected us. We could get up in the morning in the best of moods, open the drapes and see that car and the day was downhill from there. Or we could come home after enjoying a great day and the driveway would be partially blocked.

We tried everything with no real success. Then we being the “Why Pray” series at church. It was during that time that we made a conscious decision not to pray about the situation, but to pray for our neighbor. We also took it a step further, anonymously sending her a card of blessing and encouragement.   To our amazement the behavior began to slowly change. It wasn’t overnight but gradually it came to an end. One Sunday as we returned home from church we noticed her getting into her car which now stayed pretty much either in her driveway or in front of her own home.  What was different about this Sunday is that our neighbor was obviously dressed for church.

Heavenly FATHER, why is such a simple commandment so very difficult to obey? Teach us YOUR ways oh GOD that we may know and understand the peace that comes from the love YOU freely give to us and expect us to give to each other. In JESUS name, amen.