Good and Kind

Her name is Rosie. She is a 102 pound Mastiff/Lab mix. Yes. She’s a dog. A big dog. A good dog. A gentle dog. She’s a rescue. She has a checkered past due to no fault of her own. She feels very secure with who she is. She stands up for herself. She loves her people. She protects her people.

When she is at the dog park, she loves all the dogs and wants to run and play with them. She actually likes to chase the dogs who are chasing the balls. She runs to the gate to greet anyone who enters the park. She stands up for herself when other dogs are aggressive. She lets them know that she won’t be bullied. But she always has her eye on her people. She needs to know that they are there waiting for her. But she avoids them when they’re ready to leave, because she is never ready to leave.

When Rosie is in the yard at home, she feels responsible to protect her turf. She isn’t happy with the neighbor dogs walking on her sidewalk. They’re encroaching on her property and that shouldn’t happen. According to Rosie. When she is in the house, she sits in her chair and watches the activity in the front yard. She barks out a warning if anyone is invading her space. At times she jumps on the window to make sure the potential invaders know this isn’t a safe space for them.

Since Rosie has a habit of lunging for passersby on the sidewalk, I’ve taken to given her instructions before we walk out the front door. Once her leash is on, we stop at the door for a second to slow down and relax. I want Rosie to remember to treat others with respect. I want her to know that the neighbors and their pets aren’t trying to cause trouble for her. They are just passing by. Each time we walk out the door, I give her the same command. Let’s be good. Let’s be kind. I do that in hopes that she will be good and kind to those she may run into.


Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31


I think about how I treat others. Do I attempt to protect my turf at all costs? Do I warn others to back off if they get too close? In the name of safety, do I keep people at arms length? Do I build that invisible wall when others try to get too close? What am I afraid of?

If I were other people, would I like the way I treat them? Sometimes my bite may be worse than my bark. And sometimes my bark is downright brutal. Is it intentional? Do I think before I speak? Do I act without considering how the other person will feel?

I like to think that I’m comfortable in my own skin. So why do I get offended easily? Can I accept the same type of criticism that so easily flies out of my mouth? I wonder if others see me as kind and thoughtful. Or do they see me as the one who speaks before she thinks.

It’s natural to want to be treated kindly. One would think it is natural to treat others kindly in return. Not so. Feelings get hurt. Conversations get interrupted. Drivers are in a hurry or they’re too slow. That one coworker sits too close and talks too loud. Are we ever really happy?

Grace is a thing I’m learning. To stop and look a little closer at the situation. Perhaps the other person just received bad news and is in a hurry for all the right reasons. Perhaps the information I’ve been given is for my ears only. Perhaps my words were more offensive than I expected or planned. Perhaps I need to step back and slow down before I enter the world each morning. Perhaps I need to stop and remind myself of the command I give Rosie.

Let’s be good. Let’s be kind.

To Tell the Truth

She’s new on the job. It’s her second week. She’s deep in the throes of training. She got the job because her friend works there. So she’s in. She’s in the cool girls group already. She didn’t have to earn a spot. She just showed up the first day and took her place. Oh. If only life was so easy for everyone.

But I’ve heard rumors. I’ve noticed things. She has a flaw that could prove very harmful down the road. Once she’s on her own doing this job, she’s going to have trouble if she doesn’t pay attention. Literally. She sits in training glued to her phone. Texting. Back and forth with I don’t know who. Sure. She has kids. But I’m sure she doesn’t micromanage them or their sitter all day every day. Does she? So then. Who is she texting? What is more important than paying attention and learning this new job? Beats me.

I mentioned this to a friend. They gave me a good word of advice. Someone needs to set her straight early on. If no one does, then she will think that what she’s doing is acceptable. I agree. I just don’t feel called to share that message with her. So I’m in a quandary. I want to say something to her. I really do. Well. I want someone to say something to her. Just not me. I’m not sure it’s my place to do so. How do I know if I should be the one to break the news that she’s setting herself up for trouble, when I have no authority to say those things?


Do to others as you would like them to do to you. Luke 6:31


Who wants to be the bearer of bad news? Who wants to give criticism to someone else, even if it is constructive? Who ever wants to provide feedback when it isn’t positive? Certainly not me.

But what if the feedback is the truth? Wouldn’t she want to hear it from someone who isn’t going to berate her? Wouldn’t she prefer it to come from a friendly face instead of from someone who might hold it against her for a very long time? Wouldn’t she rather know now than wait until she’s too far in to be told? Wouldn’t she wonder why no one ever said anything?

Wouldn’t I?

Oh. She might be grateful for the advice. Who knows. She may think I’m crazy. She may run to her group of cool girls and throw some shade my way. Should I care? I know those cool girls already talk about others. I’m sure I’m a regular topic of conversation with them.

I think of Jonah. He was in a similar predicament. Only his included eternal circumstances. God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and announce God’s judgment on the city. The people of Nineveh were wicked and had turned their backs on God. It was time to repent or die.

That would be a tough message to share with people you didn’t know. How would they respond? Would they kick him out or kill him?

Jonah didn’t want to share the bad news, so he ran in the opposite direction. No way was he going to tell an entire city that they were going to be destroyed. Not Jonah. He was asked to do a very difficult job, and he said no. He was reluctant to obey God, because he didn’t know how his message would be accepted. He also didn’t seem to mind if the city was destroyed or not.

Of course. He did end up going to Nineveh. He took the long way there. He did share God’s message. And the people of Nineveh repented and turned to God.

I have to ask myself. Do I care what happens to my coworker? Do I want her to succeed at her new job? Do I want what’s best for her, instead of what’s easy for me? How would I want to be treated if I were in her place?

Respect

She doesn’t respect authority.  That’s all it comes down to.  She gets really mad if she doesn’t get her way.

She told me this.  She said I need to do as she does.  Here’s what you do.  She says.  She learned this lesson from someone years ago.  You just tell the one in authority what you’re going to do.  Don’t ask for their permission.  Just tell them and then just do it.  Sounds a little like a commercial, huh?  It’s the way she lives her life.  It’s the way she handles situations.  The thing is.  I call it disrespect.  How do you tell someone in authority over you what you’re going to do without asking permission?  How can someone get away with that?

I mean sure.  That’s what I’d like to do.  Just tell the authority figure what I’m going to do.  And then do it.  But I can’t.  Call me weak.  Call me a wimp.  But I have a thing about showing respect.  Even if I don’t want to.   It’s the right thing to do.

A friend reminded me of something very important.  This person doesn’t love Jesus.  So she doesn’t stop to think that her outlook on getting her own way is selfish.  It’s rude.  That’s how I described it.  Rude.  It made me madder the longer I thought about it.

She’s a grown woman.  A grandmother.  Why does she think she can always get her way?

The problem is.  She doesn’t realize that others say she’s difficult to work with.  She doesn’t have a good reputation.  She doesn’t know this.  She thinks she does a great job.  She wants a promotion.  Her boss doesn’t know how to deal with her.  He’s frustrated.  Doesn’t confront the issues that she causes.  Just pacifies her.  Just lets her do things her way.  She’s never been told that there are issues with her work ethic.

I really want to tell her what I think.  But then do I become just like her?  I don’t want that.  You see.  I like her.  I just don’t like what she stands for.  I still need to respect her.  I need to respect our differences.  Perhaps I should go boldly and gently there with her.  Talk to her.  Is it my place?  I’m not sure.


People who despise advice are asking for trouble; those who respect a command will succeed. Proverbs 13:13


I have to stop and consider the times I’m disrespectful.  How do I know I’m not just like her?  How can I make sure I’m not just like her?  I like to get my way.  I say unkind words.

I think of a time.  Not too long ago.  Words were said that offended me.  Words that sounded like a command when a command wasn’t necessary.  I said words back.  I couldn’t help myself.  That what I told myself.  But I knew I needed to stop my words.  I knew I needed to show respect to the authority figure.  Even though they weren’t being respectful to me.

I was offended recently.  Twice.  By the same person.  I was confused.  They had described me in words that I would never use to talk about myself.  That’s not how I see myself.  I don’t believe it, and I couldn’t understand why they were saying those words to me.  But it doesn’t matter why.  I wanted to say words back.  I wanted to tell that person what their weaknesses were.  But I couldn’t.  It wouldn’t be the right words to say.  I needed to respect them.  Not speak in anger.  It wasn’t my place to say those words.  It was really difficult to keep those words inside.  Because once words come out, they can never go away.  As much as we want them to.  They just can’t.

I know I need to pray for these people.  The ones who don’t show respect.  The ones who think they should get their way.  The ones who say unkind words to others.

I need to pray for myself.  I need to ask God to forgive me when I don’t show respect.  When I fight to get my way.  When I say unkind words.

The golden rule really is golden.  Treat others the way you want to be treated.