Challenging a Hypocrite (and Winning)

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, my 89 year-old mother-in-law lives by herself in a run-down socially and economically-challenged suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the last remaining original homeowner on her block since homes were built on that block in 1948. She has seen a lot of turnover and changes, and does not like it, but has to live with it if indeed she intends to remain in her home for the remainder of her life.

And now there is a thrice-divorced man who lives in the house next to her who has done things to make her life miserable, because…

…he is one of those angry rabble who voted for the disaster that befell our country in the 2016 Presidential elections. He blames his misfortunes on everyone else but himself. He works two low-paying jobs just to keep the bills paid. We have heard of other challenges he has had. Sad and sorry life.

He seems to get special joy out of making people around him as miserable as he is. Yet, he claims to be lay clergy in a local Christian church. I have always found that to be hypocritical — he claims to espouse the virtues of Christian love and kindness, but expresses himself through negative behavior, words, and actions.

My previous post explained how my M-I-L thought she was going to be thrown in jail for her lawn not being mowed. She continued to react with hysteria and cried to us two or three times a day.

I had it with this a-hole, so I found a way to get revenge through guilt.

Instead of confronting this guy directly, we decided on an alternate, more of a “high-road” approach. I found the website of this neighbor’s church. His name is listed as an active clergy leader, though he is not ordained.

The church’s website said,

in Christian neighborly service, we offer to help the elderly and infirm. We will run errands, take people to doctor’s appointments, mow lawns, and …

Bingo! That is precisely what I wanted to see.

The website also announced a community “pot-luck” picnic on this holiday weekend.

Yesterday, we arrived at M-I-L’s early. I baked a potato casserole, and carefully loaded up M-I-L and The Spouse in our SUV, and drove to the picnic. M-I-L can walk, but is very unsteady. As we got out of our SUV, some church members rushed to help and guide her to a comfortable seat.

We exchanged pleasantries (which is very hard for M-I-L and The Spouse, as they are co-equal antisocial recluses.) The neighbor saw us, but did not say anything.

When a church member asked, “is there anything we can do for you?”, we had M-I-L explain that her lawn service had stopped coming, and she could really use some help mowing the lawn. Further, Spouse added, “yeah, because a neighbor already reported the lawn to the borough police.” I added, “we would do it, but she (pointing to M-I-L) does not have a lawn mower.”

The most keenly interested church member said, “where do you live?” and M-I-L gave her address.

The response was, “well, that’s next door to Mr. H’s house.” (Mr. H is the aforesaid neighbor.)

I said, “well, what a coincidence!” (exchanging an evil grin with The Spouse.)

The church members promised to take care of it. We thanked them, finished our meal, and bid our farewells.

We were back home for about an hour, then we heard lawn mowers (plural) in the yard. Two men from the church, as well as the next-door-neighbor, were all out there mowing M-I-L’s lawn. Took them 10 minutes, if that much.

We offered lemonade and thanked them. Then I said to the next-door neighbor, “thanks for extending the Christian hand of neighborliness. Can we expect this help until we can line up another lawn service?”

“Of course” was the answer. What else could he say in front of his fellow church members?

Life is short: show those you love how to make people demonstrate what they profess and not be a hypocrite.

3 thoughts on “Challenging a Hypocrite (and Winning)

  1. That was really nice of those people to cut the mother-in-law’s grass.

    • And it would have been even nicer if the church member who lives next door to my mother-in-law offered to mow her lawn instead of reporting her to the police. My MIL called us each day for a whole week, crying hysterically, thinking that the next knock on her door was going to be the police to take her to jail. She is old and suffering from dementia, so she does not understand. That was an awful, very UNChristian, thing to do.

  2. Wow! You did take the high road with that ‘child of God’. You were far more imaginative and resource than I would have been. But you ultimately did shame your neighbor into living up to what he allegedly professed. Good, good, good for you…and your mother-in-law.

    Do you suppose your neighbor and his fellow congregants will also keep a watchful eye out for your mother-in-law on your behalf or is that too much to expect? You never know, after all as my grandparents often said to me, “….will wonders ever cease?” (LOL!)

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