“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself, I am the Lord.” Leviticus 19:18 NIV
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inward peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset. “
St. Francis De Sales
My grand dog Rocky is a Great Dane Labrador Retriever mix and he is a big dog. Big enough see cinnamon rolls on the kitchen table at eye level (and make them disappear) and he is one of those fiercely loyal gentle giants. Unless you attempt to harm his family, he is the nicest fellow you’d ever want to meet, kind hearted enough to allow Liz and Lance’s two young daughters to climb all over him and play dress up with him.
Last fall Liz and Lance rescued another dog Rusty who was a shy pooch and one afternoon at the park as another dog came over and sniffed the two dogs, Rocky growled and lunged at the dog. Liz was surprised, she had never seen that behavior from Rocky before and she reasoned perhaps he was protecting the new pup.
Not long after this incident friends in the neighborhood got a playful puppy and one day while visiting, the puppy took Rocky’s bone and once again Liz was surprised to see the Rock growl, lunge at and bite the puppy. She felt horrible and decided he must be getting old and grumpy and would either have to stay home or wear a muzzle when around other dogs.
Fast forward a couple months we came to learn Rocky had a bad tooth that had to be removed. Liz went on to say that the vet told her it was really rotten and since the surgery he was his old self again, more active, better spirits and so forth. I said that must explain why he snapped at those other dogs! Rocky was in pain and just like people, pain can cause us to forget our better selves.
Hurting people hurt other people.
This was a good reminder to me that when someone snaps at me I am to remember I don’t know what may be hurting inside of that person that may have caused their outward behavior. Perhaps the grumpy clerk at the grocery store just got word her husband was cheating on her. Perhaps the person with road rage lost his job and is frantically trying to figure out how he is going to support his family and pay his bills. Hurting people hurt other people. Maybe the crabby neighbor has a cancer diagnosis and is terrified. Hurting people hurt other people. And maybe, just maybe, my choosing to not pick up the other end of the rope; by choosing not to lash back at or judge them as our text suggests is just what the Doctor ordered.
There is a solution. A smile, a kind word or an offer of assistance may just be the balm that soothes aching, pain filled hearts. (Proverbs 15:1 “A soft answer turneth away wrath; but grievous words stir up anger”) Isn’t that what I hope others would do for me?
So I think I will let it begin with me.
Be joy filled always,