Barking Back

by Linda Veath

Humorous illustration of three howling dogs

Bark! Bark! Bark!

Bark! Bark! Bark!

The dogs had barked loudly all evening. Or so it seemed. I was frustrated with a computer issue and they were dangerously close to barking on my last nerve.

And then …..

Bark! Bark! Bark!

My last nerve went south and I exploded with a roar. “Enough! Shut up!” And they did. But ultimately I felt badly the rest of the evening for barking back at them.

Sound familiar?

Ever had your last nerve stepped on by someone? Ever had your patience dissolve in the Wal-mart checkout line? Ever lost your cool in traffic when an obnoxious driver cuts you off? Or on the phone with a telemarketer?

Something tells me that we have all experienced moments — many moments, most likely — when our last nerve was trampled on and we exploded.

Even if “they started it,” when we respond angrily we are continuing it. How much better for all of us if we’d take the high road and respond gently, kindly, patiently. Proverbs reminds us of that:

A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. ~ Proverbs 15:1 NIV

Let’s face it, though. We have trouble doing that. In fact, we can’t do it on our own. But with Jesus’s help we can, because He was “tempted in every way, just as we are — yet without sin.”

[Hebrews 4:15 NIV].

Think of that. Jesus has been tempted just as we are. No doubt His disciples got on His last nerve many times. But He did not sin. He responded firmly when needed but also gently and lovingly, with respect. Following His example and praying for His Spirit to fill our hearts, we can respond in the same way rather than barking back.

Now, if I just remember this the next time I hear ….

Bark! Bark! Bark!

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2017-10-03T18:59:01-05:00 January 24th, 2016|Devotional|Comments Off on Barking Back