It caused me to think about some of the conflicts in the local church where the Holy Spirit is actually present but where the same petty conflicts easily become full blown battles. Sadly, many of the behaviors, assumptions about one another and tactics are not much different from the "Neighbors from Hell." Except that we are really called to be "Neighbors headed to Heaven" where we will spend eternity together.
In the 20/20 episode it was clear that battles among neighbors were all consuming - energy wise and emotionally. Fences were built, cameras installed to watch the actions of the others and all kinds of nasty things done and said to one another.
Such is true in conflict in the local church as well and as such it is often literally from hell because the Evil One is greatly satisfied when we are fighting one another rather than focused on taking territory for Jesus. The irony in the local church is that our "neighbors from hell" are going to be our "brothers and sister in heaven" one day. Does it not make sense that we would practice on earth what will be true in heaven? - especially as we pray "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Something to think about.
The saddest thing about the episodes? It was so unnecessary. And so is most conflict in the local church. It robs us of our ability to accomplish what God has called us to do, it diminishes the reputation of Jesus and it is life taking rather than life giving (John 10:10). There are certainly things worth fighting for. Most church conflict does not fit that category. It is a distraction of the evil one from the mission of Jesus for the church.
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