Last year, 32.4 million people changed their neighborhood, or residences. Data from the Census Bureau would suggest that many of those people did so for solid reasons—new job, marriage, graduation, etc. A recent survey from Homes.com, though, shows that a sizable portion of people who move do so because they hate their neighbors. Specifically, 16 percent of survey respondents have moved to get away from neighbors they dislike. Another 20 percent has thought about it.
Related Post: The Lost Art of Loving Your Neighbor
I tend to agree with the sentiment given that 61.7 percent of last year’s movers simply moved somewhere else in the county they already live in. While much of that percentage could be for benign reasons, a huge portion of that percentage undoubtedly contains people who moved because they hate their neighbors.
I’d love to think most of those agitated movers are non-Christians who don’t realize how important it is to love one’s neighbors. Unfortunately, I know those numbers probably include lots of self-professing Christians.
This hurts our Lord and Savior very much as He’s most delighted when we delight in Him and when we delight in our neighbors.
God Decides Where We Live
Something else to consider is that God supernaturally decides where we’re supposed to live and how long we’re supposed to live there.
Acts 17:26-27a – And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. (ESV)
When we feverishly move around to get away from neighbors we dislike, we miss out on the opportunity to mature in God’s presence. Instead of always finding reasons to move, maybe we should come up with reasons to stay put.
Our next greater encounter with the Holy Spirit may be because we endured a neighbor we disliked and stuck it out. What a blessing that will be as we become more patient in what God is doing in the neighborhoods in which we live.
Find a quiet place this week and pray for God to soften your heart to your neighbors—even the ones you dislike.