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Cec Murphey

Across the street lives a neighbor with whom I had a minor run-in last year. Since then, she doesn’t “see” me when we pass each other in the neighborhood. If her husband stops to talk to me, she keeps walking.

She doesn’t like me and probably never will. I figured out long ago that there will always be a few people who probably won’t ever like me.

That’s true with all of us: Some people don’t like us. Won’t like us. Ever. Often we don’t know the reason.

I’ve tried to engage her in conversation and several times I gave her plants from our garden, but she hasn’t warmed up to me.

I recently admitted that regardless of anything I do, she’ll probably continue to have no use for me.

Years ago I began to pray for individuals who disliked me or spoke against me. I prayed for God to repay them for their sins and their hardness of heart. That was self-righteous, indignant praying, and I no longer pray that way.

To my neighbor I owe thanks for helping me to change my attitude. I pray good things for her every day. I expect no change, not even a friendly smile.

From that situation, I understood something significant for me. First, those don’t-like-me individuals push me toward self-examination. I honestly search my heart to figure out if I’m guilty of wrongdoing toward them. Most of the time, no answer comes. (When it does, I apologize.)

Second, whenever my neighbor walks down the street, I see her slumped shoulders and the lack of joy on her face. I don’t know much about her and I don’t ask other neighbors. I simply believe that she must be an unhappy woman.

Each day and each time I see her, I pray for God to fill her with peace and joy.

Maybe God will answer my prayer.

For more hope and humor, visit TheManBehindTheWords.com.

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