Ike and Tina Turner live next door. i hear them just about every night until all hours screaming at each other, hitting each other and i think i could probably write a book on all the names you can call someone in a heated debate. Here is a very revealing and convicting list of ways i've been completely unhelpful in any of it.
1) i have yelled out my window at the turners to stop their fighting (becuase it always seems to come at a time when the girls are sleeping-which becomes highly inconvenient for me).
2) I have called the cops to break up fights once and threatened them from my porch to call again
3) I have offered to help once (and only half heartedly meant it...what? am i going to have them over for tea? maybe that falls in the things undone category)
4) Griped and complained about the Turners and their horrible habits to a number of people giving a detailed description of their offenses
5) Called the owner of their rental property to see if they would evict the Turners, again going into detailed descriptions of their offenses
6) Held contempt for them in my thoughts
7) Nicknamed them Ike and Tina
8) Thought myself and my family to be in way better shape (thusly way better in general....at least I dont go around________...... right)
1) speak to them beyond a brief and somewhat gruff 'hello' when i see them outside
2) invite them over
3) help in any tangible way
4) listen to them
I'm sure if i thought about it even more i could come up with an even longer list of things i haven't done to really be of any use. In rereading this list and knowing what their life appears to be from next door i am appaled at my behavior! this list is so condemning. Where is Christ in it? and until i sat down and wrote out this list i didnt even realize how un-Godlike i've been to them. gossip, contempt, thinking more highly of myself than i should. I dont write this list and confess my sins to flog myself but rather to remind myself that i have on numerous occasions said that i need to go help these people in some way. As i mentioned i did go over and offer to help, but again read the words in parentheses next to it. i continue to feel like i need to talk to them or just offer to listen. Yet day after day i stay inside and close the doors when they begin to fight. sometimes i tell myself that its just not safe for me to be getting in the middle of things especially if they are fighting. This is partially true but mostly an excuse to hide behind. My other excuse being that i have no idea how to approach them. and this is true. i have after all been yelling at them from my porch and windows. now i'm supposed to go over and offer to be a friend? would they even listen? i wouldnt if i were them. I also think that meybe they don't want to be helped. what if they would be more offended that this holy roller is coming over into their world trying to "shed a little light"? What if i'm really that pompous? I dont think that i am, but i could be grossly overlooking some serious arrogance on my part. The church i'm a part of lists justice as one of its core values. and its a value that i really connect with and want to live out. but given my thoughts for my neighbors it seems a slap in their face for me to say any such thing about justice.
Forgive the things I have done and the things I have left undone. Forgive me for profaning Your name in my hypocrisy. Help me live out the values that You have set in my heart.