When my husband and I moved into our new home over a year ago, God introduced me to a few members of his treasured creation with whom I have divergent views on animal care. Unfortunately, when these diverging views came to a head toward the end of last week, I failed to respond in a God honoring manner.( I became angry, and in my anger lost sight of the fact that the object of my scorn was an individual who God deeply loves and treasures. The casualties of my fit are still being tallied, but among them are the two dogs I had come to love as my own through caring the best I could for the needs I noticed had gone unmet. In the midst of the disaster that was last week, I contacted animal control who swiftly confiscated the aforementioned canines wisking them away to what I fear may have ended in their death. My greater fear is that the lives of the pooches were not the only casualty resulting from this fiasco that ended in unkind words and haughty attitudes. A relationship with my neighbor who also happens to be the beautiful and adored creation of the God I love seems to have been sacrificed on the altar of my pride, and in the end the two mangey-muts I was attempting to assist are probably dead, too! Something our minister has said on several ocassions sticks in my mind concerning the manner in which our society values and protects animal life and disregards human life being a travesty, and when he would make these statements of disgust, I would nod my head in agreement and think that I would never be guilty of such a shameful miscalculation of value, but there I was last week guilty of placing my concern for my neighbor's dogs well-being above my concern for maintaining our relationship and upholding my example for Christ. Now, I wonder,"Does she know Jesus? Was I the one meant to introduce them? Is there any way to repair the damage I have done?" In response to that last question, the Holy Spirit reminds me that a dead relationship will be a cake-walk for the God who raised Lazarus and Jesus from the dead.
Amazingly, after the events of the week, the sermon that greeted me Saturday night at church largely had to do with the importance of doing all one can to restore broken relationships starting with prayer and ending with persitance with face-to-face humility sandwiched in between the two, so I've been praying, and today off I trot across the yard, up the stairs to her front door with a humble heart with plans to persist in forgiveness and acceptance until God chooses to ressurrect my relationship with my neighbor. So, pray for me as I try to make amends with my neighbor and join me in committing to view each person with whom I come into contact as abeautiful and valuable creation of God made in his glorious image. Also, let's commit to doing everything we can to live in peace with all those we encounter in this life, and if we have failed to do so in the past, let's pray, have humble heats, and persist in our attempts walk along side of God as he restores what has been lost with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead!
Scriptures of Note:
Ephesians 4:26 In your anger do not sin. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry.
Ephesians 4: 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that they may benefit those who listen.
Romans 14:19 Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of [dogs] food.
Romans 7:19 For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do-this I keep doing.
Ephesians 1: 18-21 I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints and his incomprehensibly great power for us who believe. The power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead.