Watch Your Words

Our neighborhood has a Facebook group that is meant to be used to relay important communications. Unfortunately, it’s become more of a complaint board where people feel free to post any and all of their grumbles and gripes…

I log onto the page occasionally just to see if there is anything I need to know and when I went on this Wednesday, I got a real surprise. Here is what one of our neighbors posted:

“I don’t know who was so nice and bagged there dogs poop and left the blue plastic bag on the sidewalk. You know who you are it’s waiting for you.”

Ed and I consistently walk Maverick at least twice a day around the neighborhood. As soon as I read that, my heart started racing…our poop bags are blue…I do sometimes set them down and pick them back up…was it me!?! At first I was scared, then I was angry. I thought about how rude the post seemed, almost threatening…your bag of poop is waiting for you!!

So I told Ed about it…I said I didn’t think it was us, but decided I was going to go back and check. So out I set on my quest for the poop bag in our disgruntled neighbor’s yard. As I walked up I started to panic, worrying she’d come out of her house while I was approaching. Luckily she didn’t, but I realized quickly that it was our poop bag we had accidentally left there. :O

I thought about the situation on my walk back to the house, poop bag in tow! I was angry, thinking how mean I felt she had been with her sarcastic post. This neighbor consistently posts negative things on the page and I couldn’t help but try to think of at least 10 different, kinder ways she could have approached the situation. I was also simultaneously thinking of what I wanted to say to respond to her post. Most of my initial responses, if I’m being honest, were not so kind…

I recognize that I made a mistake and that it is not pleasant to have a random poop bag in your yard…but I couldn’t help but think… is this really such a big deal?? Then I started to feel bad for the lady! I honestly cannot really understand how this was such a problem for her when it has not been a pattern. It most definitely hasn’t been a pattern of Ed and I leaving poop bags in her yard, so maybe someone else has done it continuously to her?

The word grace kept coming to my mind. I don’t know this woman very well…I don’t know her history or story, and I don’t know what her day was like. If I had to guess, I’d say she might not have had the best day and maybe our poop bag was the thing that pushed her to the edge. So I decided to make my response to the point and direct.

“It was me and I have picked it up. I do apologize for leaving it in your yard. It was definitely not done intentionally or maliciously.”

Since I’ve had conversations with her before, I was hoping that maybe telling her it was me would remind her that she was talking to a human, who makes mistakes.

After I wrote that comment back, I sat down, and low and behold, I looked to my left, and look what caught my eye…

These two lovely ornaments…a great reminder of the grace I have been freely given. I felt God telling me that I did the right thing and that even though I didn’t say what I really wanted to say, I did the right thing in giving someone the grace I wish they had given me…whether or not I thought she “deserved” it.

Ephesians 2: 8-10: Made Alive in Christ

8) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9) not by works so that no one can boast. 10) For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

I thought of the verses above and my mind started to turn to, what can I take away from this encounter? I knew I didn’t want to walk away bitter and angry. The lesson I pondered most on…watch your words. How you approach a situation MATTERS. Our words, whether we think so or not, impact people. I was reminded to give people grace before I make a judgment or get offended. I once heard a quote that said this, “Offence is taken, not given.” Consider that other people have things going on, and maybe ask before you assume the worst of them or become offended and hard-hearted towards them.

Have a blessed rest of your weekend…hopefully filled with words of LIFE!

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