Decided in church that I am the definition of a terrible Christian.
No, seriously; what are we always told to do? Love thy neighbor.
There was a time when the only person I would not speak to on the street was my neighbor.
Why? Well, I didn't start the fracas. I did not initiate anything, nor was I accused of initiating anything. It was begun by the crazy member of his family, and all the rest of them closed ranks rather than admit they were embarrassed by the brainless lunatic that started the mess. If I am remembered for one axiom, let it be this: The craziest person in the house holds all the others hostage.
Anyway, even had I been tempted to make a Christian effort at reconciliation, it was prevented by the box they put me in. The one thing I could not do, say that I was wrong---because you cannot lie your way to grace---was the only thing that they would have wanted to hear.
So, there we were.
And I came to thoroughly dislike my neighbor.
My wife told me that the commandment was not to "like my neighbor." I had to love him, but I didn't have to be pals with him. Would I push him in front of a bus, or out of the way of a bus?
Suppose I saw the family's house was burning down; would I call 911?
Sure, but it might go like this:
"Hello, is this 911? ... Hi. How are you today? ... Me? Oh, nothing. No, I'm fine... Yes, that's right, emergency, right. This is 911, right? Because first I dialed 912, then 921... Butterfingers, that's me... What? ... Yes, yes, sorry, yes, there is an emergency. Uh-huh. ... No, no, it's not me. We're just fine. In fact, my little puppy is doing great in obedience class! You should see him. Hey, I could send you some pic-- What's that? ... No, no, wait, please, there really is an emergency. My mind just wanders. Getting old, I swear. Now, let's see, what was it again? No, no, let me guess! It was on the tip of my tongue. Starts with S... No, no, F. Fire! That's it. Yes, there is a fire. Can you help? ... You can? Oh, isn't that nice of you. Thank you. It does my heart good to hear--- What? No, no fire with us, we're fine. In fact, our little puppy... Oh, sorry, I guess I didn't sleep too well. Not focusing today at all. I need more coffee, right? Heh heh... Fire, yes, that's right, sorry. Well, you see, it's like this. I looked out the window a little while ago? And I noticed my neighbor's house, the one next door. And it was on fire. ... Oh, yes, big gouts of flame and smoke, it's really something. ... Home? Yes, I'm home now. Oh, are they home? Well, I really don't know. I'm not their social secretary, you know. Why don't you ask them? ... Address? Yes, I suppose you'll need to know that. Well, let's just see. Heading north on the block the numbers go up, right? So they must be number--- No, wait, that's wrong. On our block the numbers go down as you head north. Northeast, really, but why be picky? So that would make them number 129. So that's their address. ... I didn't tell you the street? How silly of me. It's right here in town. Can you guess? ... You can? ... Caller ID? Well, yes, that's right! Aren't you folks clever down there at 911! Hey, guess what I'm wearing! ... No, it's my college sweatshirt, but you were close. ... Now, there's no need to take that tone with me, young lady. Let me have a look, and--- Oh, you know what? It's burned down. Never mind. But thanks so much for your time."
That's nuts. I would never do that.
The fire could have spread to my house. Wouldn't THAT be infuriating!