"Mom, that woman is cussing, smoking, and she has a beer in her hand. She's drinking and she is NOT wearing very much clothes!" My daughter Cheyenne whispered to me in a shocked voice as we tried to enjoy our usual evening in the backyard. We recently got a new neighbor who bought the house next to us. Instead of having a family oriented couple, we got a party chick in her mid-thirties who still thought she was 21. We tried to play softball and soccer but the party next door was becoming hard to ignore with shouts of the F-bomb. The next thing we knew, we had highly intoxicated guys scaling our six foot fence.
"Heather, stop glaring at the guy or we're going inside," Chris growled at me as I made eye contact with the next idiot that climbed our fence. My message was very clear, "Stop invading this Mama Bear's territory. You are now in G-rated-ville, so knock off the rude behaviors, or you'll deal with me."
The next comment we all heard was, "Your neighbor is a BEEP, she's giving us dirty looks." Chris dropped the soccer ball and dragged me into the house, kids in tow. Chris learned from years of experience of past situations, it was best to just ignore it and drag me out of it. He didn't want to risk the possibility of his wife having to take another anger management class.
Despite seeing red, I somehow knew God was finding this whole situation humorous, especially after Cheyenne continued to pepper us with comments of what the ladies next door were wearing, or lack of wearing.
"Chy, you have to give them grace. You're Daddy and I used to be exactly like those people next door, clothes and all. That's why Jesus came. Can you see the difference between them and what we are like now?"
Shocked with my lecture, Cheyenne's eyes darted from the window to me, back to them.
"It's a great idea for all of us to pray for those next door, you can pray that God ignites their hearts for them and changes their lifestyles, sweetie."Cheyenne licked her lips, and sighed. "OK, but Jesus has ALOT of work to do over there."
God uses everyday moments like this to remind us why His Son came in the first place. These moments cause us to stop and thank God for how much work He's done in our lives. Sometimes though the changes may be small, over time, His mighty handiwork of grace is undeniable. As much as I wanted to badmouth my new neighbor and her extra curricular activities, God was telling my heart she was a work in progress. It was up to me to show her grace and give her an example who God is. At the same time, Cheyenne is learning the world she lives in is full of people that are in need of grace and God himself.