Loving Your Neighbor


I am a renter which means I live in close quarters with incomplete strangers. We live in a courtyard complex so there is really no privacy. You can’t get the mail, take out the trash, or go for a walk without everyone knowing. Privacy is very important to me, but the rent is low and it’s a great location … so I stay.

The complex is non-smoking. Tenants are advised that no smoking is allowed inside the units. So why is it that I am bedeviled by smokers?

Here’s the catch. The smoking ban is not written in the lease agreement. It is only expressed orally … AND … people will agree to anything for a low rent apartment. Though verbally agreed to, smoking indoors is cause for immediate eviction.

No problem for the smokers who simply step out into the open air courtyard to light up. No problem, that is, unless you are a neighbor who is allergic to cigarette smoke.

That would be … ME!

Tobacco is my number one allergy. It can trigger severe respiratory distress. It makes me sick. Now, I have graciously complained to the manager, and my neighbors — but to no avail.

Th kicker is that the manager — who lives off site — is a smoker as is his mother who works about a block away. She conveniently takes her breaks in our courtyard and lights up with the other nicotine addicts; and all of their smoke wafts into my apartment.

Loving your neighbor?

One of the tenants bought a portable fire pit. Guess where the smoke goes when she has friends over to roast weenies and marshmallows?

My whole apartment — curtains, walls, closets — smell like smoke … for days! I literally am choking and gagging in my own home. I’ve told her that the smoke makes me sick, but it hasn’t stopped her parties.

Loving your neighbor?

According to the lease agreement there can be no courtyard activity after 10 pm. We’re talking about young people. Their night doesn’t begin until 10 pm. When the bars close they stagger home for some courtyard conversation, and a few more cigarettes.

Drunk people don’t realize how loud and boorish they sound at 2 am.

Loving your neighbor?

One more example before I close this short rant. There are 8 apartments, but only one hot water heater. Why do people stay in the shower until the hot water is all gone? The guy next door, for example, will take a 3-minute shower if the water is lukewarm. Generally, his showers can last up to 20 minutes, or whenever the hot water runs cold.

I imagine he stands under the shower head in a hypnotic trance, and doesn’t really wake up until cold water touches his skin. That’s probably true for most people though the previous tenant used to take 1-minute showers … and she didn’t smoke. Gosh, I miss her.

Loving your neighbor?

I mean, I live with people who are just plain selfish. They are fine examples of our narcissistic culture. It is a quality of life issue for me. Smoke inhalation … sleep deprivation … not to mention the inconvenience of having to boil water for sanitation and cleaning. Simply because my neighbors don’t care about conservation, or consideration.

What does loving your neighbor look like? Well, it starts at home .. and it is the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37-39).

Notes:

It’s interesting that Jesus condensed the Ten Commandments into two. The first four deal with our relationship to God while the remaining six deal with our relationship to people. Now we are to love the LORD with all our strength, and love our neighbor as our self.

My neighbors could step out onto the city sidewalk to smoke, and there would be no transgression. Or, they could have simply been honest when told this was a non-smoking complex, and rented elsewhere.

The nature of man is not so cleverly disguised.

Copyright © 2017 Eternal Christ

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One thought on “Loving Your Neighbor

  1. You might consider researching your options, whether de facto smoking is a violation of the property owner’s insurance policy, or the health policy of your local municipality. For instance, I didn’t know we had a city ordinance where I live against barbecuing on second-story balconies, covered areas or within 10 feet of flammable material, until a neighbor told me.

    Lots of municipalities restrict smoking to certain specific areas. Since you have a smoke allergy you might ask your county health department about your legal rights.

    Unfortunately our society today has abandoned Biblical values and godly wisdom — even the Golden Rule. Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah. Those are smoke signals you smell, announcing a vast mission field!

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