The Dead Boxer
Matthew 5:44-45 (NIV)
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
Frankly, my new neighbors scare me. They run a business refurbishing old gas pumps and it’s not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just, why do they have to refurbish them on their front lawn in – the middle of the night. I miss Evelyn, the older grandmotherly figure; the previous home owner; she always took such good care of the place and always asked about the kids.
As if the gas pump thing isn’t bad enough the new tenants have a dog that scares me, an overweight Boxer. I had to go over a few weeks ago and show them where the property lines were because they had chained the Boxer to my tree. Now it’s all torn up and there’s a perfect dirt circle around my now half dead tree. I’ve actually made several trips over to try to talk with my new neighbors and they have been less than pleasant about my requests. And now their dog is sick and their vet says the dog was poisoned. Two other dogs on our street have recently died from rat poison and now my neighbors are fingering me for the deed. Certainly I have a clear motive but I have to admit, the thought had crossed my mind, it’s just that someone else did this.
All the while, I have this thought that my neighbors don’t know Jesus and I do. I’m called to love them in spite of the rumors about their various run-ins with the law. I’m called to love them, regardless of the location of the property line. The praying part is fairly easy but I’m struggling with the other part that says that I need to love them. I know God’s desire for me is to love my enemies and though I’m not always sure what that even looks like I’m going to try.