Each month I write an article for a local magazine, Up In Cumming, and I like to share them with you guys, too. This month’s issue is all about pets – a topic many of us enjoy. Check it out:
We were told our 13 year old Labrador Retriever, Tori, only had two days to live. She could barely stand and wouldn’t eat or drink, and my kids were horrified to see their dog in dire straits. We spent the weekend giving Tori extra attention and mourning the inevitable when the unexpected happened: she made a stunning recovery. Literally overnight our dog bounced back to perfect health. After examinations, the doctors couldn’t make sense of the turnaround, but our family wasn’t concerned about diagnoses or logic. We were simply thrilled to have more time with the sixth member of our family. Since then, my kids have spent intentional time with Tori. She’s been been privy to extra treats, special car rides, and even a photography session. Yes, they love her….and now they realize how much.
Relationships are like that. We often don’t realize what they mean to us until we are at risk of losing them. We overlook the importance of intentional time with the ones we love. Or we assume others will excuse our brusque attitude as we rush through life. Before we know it, our actions can do enough damage to not only hurt a relationship, but end it.
Lately, I’ve been reading through the Bible focusing on many of God’s commands for His people. And you know what? Almost all of His commands have something to do with how we are to treat other people. You see, relationships are a BIG deal to God.
Check out this verse:
Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV) “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother and then come and offer your gift.”
Did you catch that? God doesn’t even want our gifts to Him until we have reconciled our earthly relationships. It’s kind of like requiring your children to “make up” before you can enjoy family time. Imagine trying to enjoy a lovely dinner while two of your children are bickering. When our relationships are off kilter, everyone suffers.
Here’s another verse to consider:
Matthew 7:12 “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and Prophets.”
How we speak and react to other people matters to God. It’s not a issue solely between you and the other person. Your relationships have a third partner – God. And, He desires His people to show the same mercy and grace that He, Himself shows.
But, wait. There’s more. Check out these verses:
Romans 12:10 “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.”
Romans 12:18 “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
Want a great self evaluation? Ask yourself some of these questions:
How am I treating others? With love? With kindness? With respect?
Am I taking responsibility for my actions and apologizing when necessary?
Am I forgiving of other people?
Am I spending intentional time to get to know others or invest into them in some way?
Don’t wait until a relationship is in peril to give it the consideration it deserves. Be intentional with your time, love and schedule. It’s not always easy, but I can assure you that God’s way is always best. So, today, find a way to honor a co-worker, a family member, or a friend. Or, yes, even the family pet.
*Update: I originally wrote this article two months ago. Since then, we’ve lived on borrowed time with our pooch. This past weekend, Tori lost her battle with Thyroid cancer and our family has been mourning our loss. We are immensely thankful for the tail-wags, slobbery kisses, wet-nosed nudges, and love she added to our lives.