I was thoroughly chastened by an experience the other day.
There’s this guy in our neighborhood that I’ve felt like I have the right not to like so much. I take a walk almost every day, and his yipee-yappee little crazy dog always barks his head off at me when I go by.
It startles me every time, and I don’t particularly relish being verbally attacked by the mini mutt from you-know-where. The owner always admonishes his pet with what sounds like a bark of his own, but he never acknowledges me or apologizes for the offensive canine behavior.
Like owner, like dog.
The apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree. The two seemed to be perfectly matched in countenance and personality. Every neighborhood has its grumpy old man, and this was ours.
Well, a couple weekends ago, my husband David noticed the tread on our tires looking a little worn. He started praying about whether we needed to replace them. The next day, on the way home from our son’s soccer game, I noticed a sign for a garage sale in our neighborhood. I mentioned it, and David headed the car in that direction.
We pulled up in front of the sale, and you guessed it… Grumpy Old Man’s house.
He and his wife greeted us with friendly smiles, and initiated pleasant chit-chat as we looked around. David spotted a stack of tires on the driveway and went over to inspect. A sign on top read “FREE”, and he wondered out loud if they might be the right size for our van. After a closer look, he realized they were a perfect match, and the tread was in great shape!
The couple was delighted to be able to bless us with the tires, and the wife hurried off to grab some garbage bags to wrap them in so they didn’t soil the back of our car. The husband, who I was beginning to believe was a body snatcher, and not even the same guy I passed on my walk every day, started talking to my younger son. He grabbed a baseball off the yard sale table, tossed it to him with a grin, and told him he could keep it.
Their cute little dog frolicked harmlessly around the garage as they helped us carry the tires to our car, and sent us off with their warm felicitations.
I often pride myself on being one of the least judgmental people I know. And then God sticks a mirror in front of my face, and reminds me not to think too highly of myself. I even misjudged the stupid dog!
As we drove away, I thanked God for the wake up call. It was so good to be reminded not to trust my own judgments, but to ask God to help me see people (and dogs) through His eyes.
“People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
Is there someone in your life you need to take a second look at? Ask God to give you His lenses for the people around you, and your perspective will change for the better. Always.