Sunday morning I planned to come downstairs, fix a cup of tea and bring my geriatric sweetheart (our female lap-dog) out onto the front porch with me to enjoy some quiet time before my husband got up. Her room is also the laundry room, and when I opened her door, I found that she had worked hard during the night… she managed to press do-do and pee down deep into every inch of the flooring.
I was enraged!
How dare she do this after all we’ve done for her! Obviously, it was deliberate! I had a few words to say while I took her outside. I began scrubbing the floor. My husband arrived and observed the mess. Seeing how upset I was, he offered to take care of the room while I gave Miss Poopy-Princess a much needed shampoo. After she and the room were both thoroughly clean, we sat together with our tea. What could we do to prevent this from happening again?
I had ideas of introducing her to a Life Outdoors, but winter’s coming. Maybe a crate? After 17 years without a crate, she’d surely harm herself trying to break free. Diapers? Minimize evening meals?
Hubby’s brilliant idea was to simply be patient and forgiving with her; he suggested although this act may have certainly seemed deliberate, perhaps we should take her age and mental capacity into consideration. Yes, I knew he was right.
My thoughts went deeper. How many times in my life have I been very upset with another person when they’ve behaved ugly, especially if the action(s) had seemed to be happening with intent, maybe even with malice. Didn’t I feel justified to be irritated with them? Was I glad to see them caught, or maybe even see them suffer the consequences? How quickly was I able to show patience, love and forgiveness?
What does God say about how we are to react?
Ephesians 4:31-32 (KJV) has the answer, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another; tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”
How many times am I to do this? Seven times?
“Jesus saith unto him, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven” (Matthew 18:22 KJV).
[Note: this does not at all mean we are to stay in an unhealthy or dangerous environment – we can forgive privately from a safe distance!]