If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
I was just speaking with a new neighbor, and caught off guard. I’ve lived in this neighborhood… a very culturally diverse one at that… for 13 years. In this time, I’ve never experienced any sort of neighborhood drama. We get along very well, as a community. Or, so I thought.
I was watering my new plants, and the neighbor stopped over to introduce herself. She then asked if they had been bothering us with any noise coming from their home. I let her know that they were no problem at all. Then she said “Well, someone in the neighborhood has been complaining to our landlord and code enforcement.”
I was shocked.
I’ve never seen or heard anything that was outside of normal neighborhood activity. Nothing late at night or excessively noisy. In fact, our new neighbors have brought me great joy as I listen to their kids giggling and playing… new life in our neighborhood. They are race enthusiasts, which has my husband and I watching from afar as they work on their race car (now we’ve been invited over for closer inspection). We have a common unity in that area, and I’m excited to get to know them better. I was even impressed by her Matthew 18 conflict resolution skills, as she came right to me to address any concerns.
I’m a bit sad that there is someone in our neighborhood that is choosing to not live at peace with this family. I can’t even begin to put a finger on why it would be happening, as this isn’t the first race car in our neighborhood or first family to have a rambunctious gathering during the day. Someone though sees things different, and is creating drama that is unnecessary.
Romans 12:18 says “if it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” and I’ve tried my best to do that. Over our 20 years of marriage and living in different neighborhoods, we’ve experienced our fair share of good and bad neighbors. Yet, I’ve never found anything so terrible that I couldn’t live at peace with the person. I’d rather be friends with my neighbor than enemies. I like to extend grace and forgive them little inconveniences as I hope they would do the same for us. I’m sure we are not always perfect neighbors either.
I would prefer not to pick fights or create discord among those who are part of my community. I don’t even understand the mindset of those who do, why would not want to be a peacemaker?
While I do not know who in our neighborhood is being difficult, I do know what house will be loving and kind. I know what house will embrace the loud laughter and squeals of little children. I know which house will be praying over them as they head off to race their car. I know that it will be our house that will extend hospitality and care across the fence. They may not ever know who is complaining, but they will know us by our love.