Back to where I started this string of posts on mean people. What do you do when you’re dealing with junk-yard-dog-mean people? Do you talk out your frustrations or act out your frustrations? Consider David’s whole approach found in Psalm 5. It’s so much better to talk the desire for vengeance out of my system than to act on my desire for vengeance, and then after I’ve talked things out proceed to lay my desire for justice at God’s feet.
You know, there isn’t a neat and tidy finish to my story with my neighbor (described in “Mean People”) I wish I could tell you some neat end to the story because over the course of four years I certainly worked toward a nice ending. But when God decided it was time – through the combination of our concerns and other complaints leveled throughout the neighborhood – the landlord got involved and asked our neighbors to move out. Sadly, there never was a beautiful reconciliation between us as human beings as we had prayed, but God did move them somewhere else and thus protect me from further personal attacks. I still see their truck around town and now I’m always moved to pray for them. In my difficult journey with my neighbor I realized I have no control over the other person’s responses. I only control how I respond. Prayer is the means given me by God to talk out all of my wrong responses, all the things I’d like to do to get even, so that I can then arrive at what God knows is the right thing to do – regardless of how the other party responds.