Today I took my morning jog not at my usual place on the nearby beach, but rather, near my sister’s home in Westford, MA. She lives by a lake near a beautiful pine tree woods with homes nestled back from the road.
As I was communing with my Abba to Messianic Jewish music per usual, one of the local residents walked toward me. I gave him a welcoming hello as I removed my headphones. His rather unwelcoming remarks were, “Is there a reason you’re trespassing on my driveway?” Not only did this comment take me by surprise but I looked all around me and I was clearly on the road and not in his driveway. Then he pointed to a sign with diagrams on it indicating that, in fact, he owned that part of the what seemed to be road. I said I didn’t understand and he said just don’t do it again. I said of course I would not.
My first reaction, I have to admit, was “What a jerk! How can someone be so angry on such a drop dead gorgeous day?!!! I prayed to Abba to please heal this guy of his anger issues!
It only took a few more steps before my prayer changed to myself. “Oh Abba, please heal me of my defensiveness! Yes, that person may have an anger issue but I am clearly needing help to love my fellow man. Thank you for putting the right words in my mouth of humility when confronted, but please work on my heart to feel what my words were saying.”
As I continued to pray and jog at a little distance up the road, I stopped near the (obvious) driveway of another neighbor and was distracted as I texted. At one point I looked up and noticed a lady patiently waiting to pull her car into her driveway a few feet in front of me. Clearly I was in her driveway and I immediately said, “Oh!! I am SO sorry!” as I moved quickly out of her way. She responded, “Oh, no worries. You weren’t in my way. I just didn’t want to startle you as I pulled in.”
Although this person’s demeanor was quite the opposite of the other neighbor’s, I also realized that I had not told the other person that I was sorry. I had not apologized, just said I wouldn’t do it again.
Abba taught so many lessons in such a brief jog.
How we speak to others sets the tone for their responses. A raised voice, or one just not kind, will elicit defensiveness rather than acceptance of responsibility by the offender. When in a disagreeable conversation, it helps immensely to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. When we do so, our eyes will open up to our own areas needing healing. Accepting responsibility and admitting wrongdoing through sincere apology opens up the possibility for loving one another despite our differences. Yet the ability to apologize becomes much more possible when acceptance and kindness set the tone for the conversation. The circle of love can not be complete so long as an adversarial attitude is in the mix. When the evil one is driven out by loving another when it is difficult to do so, HaShem’s grace and unconditional love and Yeshua’s directive to love your enemies can reign.