I'm not sure if I've written about this before. But those who know me know the story. I have a difficult neighbor. He flat out hates everything. Ever met anyone like that? Not just unhappy. Driven to make others miserable. Usually we say his life didn't turn out the way he planned and he's taking it out on everyone. That could be. If I say it that way, I feel a little more justified disliking him...makes it his fault. However, if you consider the demon possessed boy in Mark 9, perhaps it's something more. I don't want to suggest necessarily that my neighbor is demon possessed though he could be, but he's at least oppressed.
He reminds me of my step-father. A life-long drinker and drug addict who was given to fits of rage. The only time he was calm was when he smoked his pot. At any other time, he was mad because he wasn't high and had to think about how his life was going or he was drunk and unpredictable and sometimes violent. That might have a lot to do with my reaction to my neighbor...they are very similar personalities. I grew up watching my back, tiptoeing around wondering what was next. On a side note, I don't feel bad about my childhood. God has used it to help me connect with troubled teens. It's eye-opening for someone with a tough home to say to me, "You don't know what it's like" (I'm an average, nerd kinda guy) and be able to say that you really do and share a bit of your experience with them. Helps them to know they aren't alone. They aren't worthless. They don't have to stay broken. They are loved and understood. I hope He uses it again. One soul saved is worth it.
Look at Mark 9:14-30. The spirit caused the boy to be totally out of his own control. Wallowing on the ground, gnashing his teeth. Mk 9:18 says "wheresoever it taketh him, it dasheth him down;" How hopeless sounding. No matter where the boy looked or went, he was going down. It also says the spirit caused him to pine away. Webster's defines pining this way, "1. To languish; to lose flesh or wear away under any distress of anxiety of mind; 2. To languish with desire; to waste away with longing for something." I've heard my neighbor screaming at his dogs from inside the house. Screaming at (or about) us. He talks to his dead mother. Another neighbor heard him carry on a 30 minute conversation with his mother the other day. A couple days ago, his hose burst. Our other neighbor went over to tell him that water was going everywhere and he came out, saw the hose and started screaming and ranting. Then he gets on the phone and yells at whoever, I think it was his wife, that he's sick of us wrecking his stuff, coming on his property, and on and on...none of which is true of course. I've never seen him happy.
In Mark 9:19, Jesus says of the boy, "bring him to me." In Mark 9:29, Jesus says of the tormenting spirit, "this kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer." I notice He didn't say that only He, Jesus, could deliver this man. That we mere humans could do nothing. He didn't pat the disciples on the head and say, "That's okay. You could never have done this." We can pray. All the things Jesus did, He did through prayer and the Holy Spirit. The same Holy Spirit who indwells us. The same power is accessible to us. Phil 4:13, " I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."
My wife and I have been collecting evidence to see if we can get a restraining order or order of protection against him. My wife gets pretty frightened sometimes when she's here without me. We've got police reports from the calls we've made. Videos of him making threatening and obscene gestures. We could probably get character witnesses too...it's not just us that he doesn't like. It's the whole neighborhood. I often feel trapped between the need to protect my family from what he might do and my questions about how to show him God's love. He's completely unreasonable so I can't talk to him directly. Jesus went on being Jesus and loving people right in front of the pharisees who were always after Him. He was never dissuaded or distracted by them.
My neighbor's obviously tormented and not under his own control much of the time. Whether by choice from drinking or because he's being demonically oppressed, he's a troubled man. Jesus prayed for the troubled and tormented.
That's where I find myself tonight. I have this evidence. I could take it to a lawyer and bring my neighbor to the judge. Or I could pray...I mean really pray like I've never done before and bring him to Jesus.
Thanks for visiting.
Thanks for visiting.