Laughing Dogs

Although dogs are supposed to be people's best friends, sometimes even they seem to have a rebellious streak.

My friend Pat put the leashes on her two dogs--which they hate wearing--and loaded the pooches into her car. As she pulled up at the pet grooming shop, everything seemed just fine. With her key still in the ignition and the car door unlocked, she got out of the car to let the groomer know that she had brought the dogs for their appointment.

Suddenly the dogs became very excited and began jumping up and down inside the car. They rested their paws on the car door . . . and succeeded in locking it!

"Oh, no!" Pat exclaimed. "They've locked me out of my car! Now I'll have to call a locksmith! I thought things like this happened only on TV."

She tried talking to the dogs and motioned to them to pull up on the door lock, but to no avail. They just continued jumping up and down, as if playing a game with her.

Then she remembered that her husband had given her a spare key. She was able to unlock the door and take her dogs to their grooming appointment.

"I will never leave my keys in the ignition again," she told me. "The dogs seemed to be having such a good time jumping up and down inside the car. I wonder if they were trying to get even with me for putting their leashes on them!"

Most people, if they are honest, would have to admit that they have thought about getting even with someone at least once. Many have put their thoughts into action. Whether it's leaving a penny as a tip for an unpleasant server at a restaurant or making not-so-kind remarks or gestures to someone who cut you off on the road, the desire to get even can push a normally rational individual into doing something he or she will later regret.

Learning to let go of wrongs can be a long-term process. So how do you get started?

Ask God to help you to respond, rather than react, to the person who has offended you.

Recognize that we all need God's forgiveness. Remember how graciously He has forgiven you. God has purposes in what He allows, even the irritations and hurts we experience.

Practice calming yourself. Take several deep breaths before you say or do anything you might regret.

Put your problem into perspective. Will this frustration matter so much to you a year from now?

Read and meditate on relevant Scripture passages, such as the following:

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends" (Romans 12:17-19, NIV).

"We know him who said, 'It is mine to avenge; I will repay'" (Hebrews 10:30, NIV).

"If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink" (Romans 12:20, NIV).

"Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city" (Proverbs 16:32, NIV).

"A quick-tempered man does foolish things, and a crafty man is hated" (Proverbs 14:17, NIV).

Remember, whatever angers you, controls you. God desires that we be controlled by His Spirit, not by someone else's actions or attitudes.

By Nancy A. and Howard W. Stevens

© by Nancy A. and Howard W. Stevens