In my past experience, loving and respecting our neighbors has always been a fairly easy thing….when people are polite and kind to each other, that is. What happens when differences occur? It becomes so much harder to love your neighbors.
A few years ago, my thirteen year old daughter was verbally harassed and yelled at on our porch by two grown men who were angry at her older brother for going around the corner too quickly. Frankly, I’m glad they wanted to come and tell us, but their approach was all wrong. Yelling at my innocent daughter then proceeding to cut me down telling me I was a bad mother goes beyond just being neighborly and borders on abusive and, well, harassment.
When my husband came home, he may have made things worse by yelling at them to leave his wife and daughter alone. But, really, I was grateful that he had my back. After they called the police on us, we had them trespassed so that they couldn’t be “neighborly” again. It was for the peace and security of my little girl who had to talk to a school counselor after her experience. Would you believe it has taken her two years to be able to answer the front door again? I don’t blame her, I cringe every time the doorbell rings, too.
It took a long time for me to forgive these men. It was a gradual process…We are commanded to forgive, but it’s so much harder when it’s an infraction against one of our children. I am now to the point where I can drive past them and their homes without anger in my heart. I have forgiven them, but will I invite them over for pie and ice cream? I don’t think so.
My wise Bishop once told me, you can forgive someone for stealing money out of your wallet, but it doesn’t mean you will leave it lying around for them to steal from you again. I applied this to my experience here, I can forgive them and smile, but will I subject my daughter to their company when they make her so uncomfortable? I don’t think so.
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Photo Credit LDS.ORG