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What Does the Bible Say About..Relationships?

My next door neighbor has always been friendly about my kids using her pool (as long as I am watching them of course) over the last few years. This year for some reason she has become very angry if I am there (seldom swimming, just sitting and watching my two children) and she is working in the house. She feels that I have become very bold and extremely rude. I have an open invitation to use her pool (extended by her) and I ask her by phone or in person each time I use it.

I am trying to figure out what is going on here. If she has given me permission in the morning to bring the kids over in the afternoon, and she happens to be doing housework at that time, am I being boastful, arrogant, whatever the term might be? Or is she perhaps breaking a lesson that God has tried to teach us (jealousy, coveting). I don't know my bible well enough to help it guide me through this one. This probably sounds petty, but she was pretty darn upset!!


It sounds to me like you need to talk to your neighbor to find out what the problem is. This is the scriptural method. Matthew 18:15 it says, "Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother." It goes on to say that if nothing results, then take witnesses and talk to the person. If it still does no good then take it to the church (assuming both of you are of the same church). Even if you aren't of the same congregation of the church, the first step is still important. The only way you will find out exactly what the problem is, is to talk to her.

It may be that she doesn't realize she is acting in a hurtful way. It may be that she thinks you are taking advantage of her generosity with the pool. It may be that somebody else gossiped about you and she believed it. There could be any of a number of other reasons for her behavior. You will never know the real reason unless you talk to her.

She may not want to tell you. You may have to work it out of her. The main thing, though, is to approach it in an attitude of respect. Tell her you feel that there is a problem between you and you want to know what the cause is because you want to return to a friendly relationship. Be sincere. If all you want is pool rights, skip it and don't use her pool. If you want to remain friends, tell her so. Above all, be neither attacking or overly defensive. Don't tell her she is the problem. She may not be. Explain the behavior you have observed simply and without judgement. And if she comes back and accuses you of something, don't get too defensive. Listen to what she has to say, and then see if she may be right. If it is a behavior of yours to which she objects, try to correct it if possible. But don't automatically put up the shields and say, "I can't be the problem." Try to work it out between you. If absolutely necessary, bring in an agreed-upon, neutral (not one of your husbands) third party. That should only be if you can't work it out yourselves, and if both of you really want to work it out.

One other thing. Before you talk to her, pray. Pray that you will approach her in love, and that she will be willing to work things out. You see, if you depend on God's help, he will give it and you can do more than you could do alone.

I hope this helps. I will pray for you, that things will work out right.