I had gotten up early to work out with a friend, and right after my friend left I heard screaming outside. I knew something was wrong, but I was upstairs with my son in the front bonus room. I looked outside the window to see if I needed to call 911 and just find out what was happening. Two neighbor ladies were outside, and they had their dogs. The one neighbor was walking her small terriors on leashes, but she was in front of the other neighbor's house. The neighbor not walking her dogs was taking her daughter to school and, upon opening the garage door, her medium sized dog (not a violent breed--a wheaton) ran out and started growling at and chasing the little dogs on the leash. The screaming was coming from the neighbor with her dogs on a leash.
This went on for about 20 seconds before the neighbor was able to grab her dog away and get him in the garage. She was horrified and turned to the dog walking neighbor to apologize profusely. The other neighbor, whose dogs had been chased, started to let a stream of cussing and hateful words come screaming from her mouth toward this lady. She continued to walk down the street to her house, turning around every five seconds to continue screaming at this family and their unleashed dog.
What the angry neighbor did not realize (no one is extremely close on our street), is that this family she was hating and yelling at was in the midst of a terrible trial. The husband had been rushed into emergency quadruple bipass surgery just days before Christmas and had only recently come home from the hospital. They are in financial trial right now, and the wife is trying to run the house, take care of her two teenage kids on her own and make sure her husband is healing and not facing any of the stress. Her naughty pooch was not a purposeful offense. I'm sure she did not expect there to be two dogs right outside her driveway when she opened the garage door to drive her daughter to school.
I am sure she retreated into her home and sobbed. I would have after being screamed at like that.
The whole scene upset me. I was so sad for both of the ladies, and I dropped to my knees and prayed for them. I prayed for peace, for love, for understanding, for patience, and for remorse. I prayed for me too. How often do I assume the worst in people, have no patience for mistakes or circumstances they are facing, and, though I don't scream obscenities at them, I hold bitterness or anger in my heart. What a powerful reminder for me this morning!
The scene provided a good discussion on kindness and forgiveness with my son.
Whether or not other people are in hard circumstances, God calls Christians to forgive. It is just that more powerful of a reminder, though, to know that many people we face in our day are probably dealing with their own trials and stress. How painful to know that we might be adding to someone's sadness or despair with our impatient words or looks.
I encourage you today to have compassion and kindness for others. It will help you heap on forgiveness and patience as you go throughout your day.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” (Matthew 18:23-35) C. S. Lewis
Ephesians 4:1-2 “I . . .urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love”