Hebrews 12:14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy …
We had to say goodbye to our pet a few days ago. We are moving to New Zealand and that distance would be too stressful for a 12 year old cat to endure. His original owners took him back so we are very thankful. We know he will be happy, but we’ve had him for 8 years, so yes, we did cry. Bawled actually, as our hearts broke; but there is a silver lining to this sad time. Our black cat Boo will no longer have to run for his life from a neighbor’s dog.
Are you like me? Do you also struggle when people don’t respect your space? I grew up with dogs and love them very much. What I don’t love is the neighbor’s dog using our cat for sport. It’s not the dog’s fault – he’s a chaser. It’s the owner. She just doesn’t care. Asking the owner to mind her dog, pointedly staring, or sternly calling the dog off didn’t change a thing. For years this neighbor held the dog leash in her hand while watching her dog tear across our yard. Occasionally she called him, but he never listened. Avoidance was the name of the game – for everyone.
I don’t like who I become when I avoid situations. The stress, the imaginary conversations, the constant weight – it all brings me down. I sought God for a change; in both our hearts. For a miracle to occur, avoidance had to go. Here’s how the progression went. She was out in her yard on the morning of our garage sale, so we smiled and waved. She came over to peruse, so we welcomed her and talked about the weather. We pet and admired her dog – who really is lovely, just high strung. And THEN I was able to tell her about Boo, how his tail had been hurt and how traumatic it was for him to be chased. She listened! Now she makes a conscious effort to put her dog on the leash when she goes by our place. Those who are kind benefit themselves … (Prov. 11:17)
Peace didn’t just happen. It took effort and good communication. Make every effort to live in peace.