When I worked at Brewton-Parker College in Georgia, a skinny stray dog wandered around the campus. Students fed it scraps from the cafeteria. Every night it slept in the bushes next to the building where I worked. A too-tight collar around his neck clearly hadn’t been loosened since it was smaller. He limped, holding his back leg, having obviously been abused by a previous owner. Whenever someone tried to pet him, the dog would snap back to keep them away. One of the secretaries in our building named him Snapper.
As it neared Christmas one year, the college would be closed for two weeks and no one would be on campus to feed Snapper. The secretary felt sorry for him, so she got someone to force Snapper into the back seat of her vehicle and she drove him home.
When school restarted a couple of weeks later, the secretary ran up to me and excitedly said, “You wouldn’t believe how Snapper has changed! At first he wouldn't let me get near. But I just kept feeding him and talking to him nicely...and he finally quit snapping at me. Now he wags his tail and is excited to see me!”
What caused the dog to change? She refused to react to Snapper’s behavior and kept showing him love. Jesus said, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you…and just as you want people to treat you, treat them in the same way….expect nothing in return and your reward will be great.” (Luke 6:27,31,35).
Who is snapping at you? If a dog can change when it is treated with kindness, those who snap back at you can change too. If you will look past their anger and let God’s love flow, He will soften their hearts. They might even quit their snapping and start wagging.
Prayer: “Lord, the next time I encounter a difficult person, give me a heart of compassion and let your supernatural love flow through me. Amen.”
Coming in April 2013: Slaying Your Giants by Kent Crockett (Hendrickson Publishers)