Ephesians 4:2-3. “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.”
I chuckled as I watched the little balls of fur roll around on the concrete patio. One second they were a blur of yellow, black & white wrestling with passion and the next second the yellow was pouncing through the air trying to catch a fly while the black, brown & white was burrowing beneath the hostas along the porch.
They were so cute and lovable that I just wanted to cuddle them on the porch swing. I stepped through the storm door and reached to pick one up when their playful attitudes immediately changed. Both kittens backed away hissing and spitting. The hair on their backs stood up on end and they looked like little porcupines. I was so disappointed and hurt. Why would they do that to me? Didn’t they like me?
There are times when people do not treat us as we would like. Sometimes when approached they will clam up, spit sharp words at us, or turn their backs making us wonder what we did wrong. It is tempting to react in anger when this happens, judging the words and actions without knowing the reason for the affront. By responding in kind, we typically will only escalate the tension and the problem is not alleviated.
But when we respond in a humble and gentle way, patiently bearing with one another in love, we will often find that we are not the source of the problem. Usually there is another more serious issue that is upsetting the person causing them to snap at us. In taking the initiative to respond kindly, we may have opportunity to encourage and help someone who needs it.
I understand why my kittens hissed at me. They had been through a terrible trauma only days before. When the tornado came through they were displaced from their mother in the storm and who knows what happened to them and what they suffered in the terrific winds. When the rescuers found them they were terrified and it took time for them to feel safe. By waiting patiently and giving them loving care they eventually came to realize that I only wanted to love and help them.
Next time someone snaps at you, humbly hold back your retort. Bear with them patiently in love. They will eventually come around.