My wife and I have been continually expanding the extent of our travels around our new home. On Saturday we ventured southeast for a few miles along Cary Parkway in order to find the location of the church we’ve wanted to visit. Then on Sunday afternoon we headed in another direction up highway 54 on the way to the closest Super Walmart, taking various side trips as we went along. I can’t say that I am as yet comfortable with where I am going, but am closer each day!
Each day brings with it a greater familiarity with the terrain, the weather patterns and with the people around us. I noticed that as we are becoming a regular part of the lives of those who reside in our community, the friendlier they have become. I think that I may have judged my neighbors incorrectly! I realized that I was unknowingly expecting our new neighbors to respond to us in the same way that our neighbors of many years had interacted with us in our home in California. But our interactions with the old neighbors was something that had been developed over time. Now I see that I need to afford my new neighbors that same courtesy!
What I have really become aware of is how much our dog has acted as a barrier remover! During our trip to Oklahoma we boarded our pooch at a “pet hotel” right around the corner from us. Along with the regularly provided walks, I also paid for an additional fifteen minutes of playtime between Mandie and the staff each day. Then since I was planning on doing it anyway, I had them give her a bath on the day we picked her up. Well, when we retrieved her she was not only jumping for joy, but appeared well groomed, her coat glistened and she looked like she had lost quite a few pounds due to the winter undercoat that was removed during the bath!
Later that day as we walked around our community, and every day since, we have been stopped by both adults and kids who have commented on what a pretty dog we have! I exclaimed to my wife over the weekend that it seemed that God was using Mandie to break the ice with our new neighbors! I guess He will use who or whatever it takes to answer our prayers!
This progress with the residents of our apartment home reminded me this morning of what Jesus told the Pharisees concerning the judgment of others. In John 8:15-16 He declared “You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with my Father, who sent me.” (New International Version) It would seem that Jesus was stressing the idea of seeing others and making judgments about them in the same light as God our Father sees them. Not according to our own thinking… as I incorrectly did with my neighbors, but with a mind deeply instilled with the love and grace that Jesus exemplified!
Now that’s a course of action that would probably save us a lot of trouble down the line! It also is a course of action that allows God into the equation and opens the door for His love and grace to prevail! I like that… how about you? Have a great week. Stay in tune to His love and grace, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting today?”