A gentle answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Different people handle confrontation differently. There are those people who seem to thrive on a good “debate” about how they have been wronged and will defend their position vehemently even if they are wrong. Then, there are those like me that are absolutely terrified of confrontation. I will do anything I can to avoid these situations. By doing so, I have become many folk’s doormat over the years.
When I became a Christian, it was easy to step into the role of doormat and have an excuse–after all, aren’t we called to forgive our neighbor “seventy times seven times?” Funny thing is, though, with some people, the forgiveness shown to them does not change the way they behave and that number thrown out in scripture seems more and more like it will become a reality. This is where I find myself today.
My neighbor has a dog. She is an outside dog. When male dogs make their way to her, said dogs do what dogs will do–the result: adorable puppies. My neighbor, unbelievably, does not have a fenced in piece of land nor does she keep these adorable puppies on leashes. Well, last year, all her dogs found their way over to my property (after inching their way closer daily and me yelling at the puppies in hopes she would hear and pay attention rather than confronting her).
Now, dogs love chickens, and one horrific evening, they broke into my chicken house and killed twenty-one out of my twenty-three chickens. After cleaning-up the carnage, and before I had a chance to figure out how to approach this with my neighbor, her dog was back. In broad daylight, she grabbed one of my last chickens and went running through fields and roads with her in her mouth. For what seemed like forever, I chased this dog in an effort to save my chicken. Finally, back at her home, the owner was able to get the dog to release her grip, and I swept my sweetie back into my arms. The feeling of her sinking into my chest is something I will never forget (she was fine by the way–unbelievably).
It was at that point that I shared with my neighbor about what happened a few days prior. Thankfully, after explaining to me what it is dogs do (I guess my wide-eyed look said I needed some education into the matter), she at least listened and then went on to explain about her life and how hard it was. I was able to offer forgiveness and prayer to her. Even though she did not pay for the loss of the chickens and future eggs for my family, I felt good because of the peace God gave me through the prayer offered her.
Fast forward one year, and there is a whole new group of puppies born to said flirty dog and they are inching their way slowly towards my property once more. Cute as buttons according to my kids, they are now in love; but, I am not feeling the love. I am feeling angry inside–not seeing the cute factor at all.
I will not lie, I have ranted a bit in my home in front of my kids about her irresponsibility and how I need to march right over there and set her straight. But that is not the example I want to set for my kids–I was convicted of that mid-rant as they stared at me. I realized, after praying over it for the last few days, that I wanted to confront her out of anger–the anger I am obviously still harboring and the anger for her not realizing the same nightmare could happen again. In approaching it that way, though, I am approaching it out of pride and a whole host of other ugly emotions. I am quite sure if I had zipped right over there, I would not have had much of the love of Christ to offer her, but more anger heaped onto the already difficult life she has.
We are called to be peacemakers, yes; but that does not mean we have to be doormats. We just have to search for the balance. In every situation, we need to remember who we represent. For the last few days, as these bundles of fluff grew bolder and bolder, my anger grew stronger and stronger. I am thankful that I have four sets of eyes that, just by looking at me, can convict me to my core. In looking to Jesus as my example, I see that He did correct people, but it was always done out of the love He had in His heart for them. Always standing for what was right, He appealed to their hearts and always spoke the truth out of the love He had for the Father. Anger does not represent the Lord well, nor does it show to a watching world Who lives within me.
I desperately want to be a good example to my children and those that God puts in my path. Trust me, I have failed more times than I care to admit. Right now, though, this is the situation at hand, and I want all parties involved (my neighbor and my children) to see the heart of Jesus in me as I deal with the situation.
Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
At present, I am still boiling a bit inside, so I know it is not the right time to confront her lest I sin, too. I know Jesus would have me stand for what is right–protection of the new chicks I will be housing soon would fall under that category–but, I need to wait on Him to work this out in His timing so that I am doing it out of love not anger towards all involved–my neighbor and her stupid dogs (sorry–I am a work in progress).
The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous runs into it and is safe.
My strong Tower is well aware of this situation. As I call upon His name, I know that all hearts involved will be safe, and all eyes will see Him, if only I keep in prayer and listen for what He would have me do. He wants that for all of us. All we need to do is slow down enough and ask ourselves how we can glorify Him in every situation because that is really what we were placed on this earth to do. Most of us reading this can think of someone or some situation where a decision has to be made……Don’t be a doormat; be a peacemaker through prayer.
Much love sent to you all…..
ღ Skye ღ
© Skye Alexander, 2014, All Rights Reserved
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