Handled Properly

Bill Brinkworth

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; 45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Mat. 5:44-45

It started out innocently. A “Hey, J.” was shouted to the passing neighbor. However, the dog that was walking with its owner started barking at D. and got closer and closer.  The animal’s warning bark turned to a quick nip on D.’s leg.

“Owww!” was D.’s natural cry.  “Your dog bit me!”

“Oh no, he didn’t,” was J.’s defensive retort.  More harsh words ensued.

Now D. was angered as his word and pain were questioned.  The argument between the two neighbors escalated.  D. took the moment to point out some of J.’s other damages to his property.

Back and forth the argument went.  Hurtful things were surely said by both parties.  Finally, one of the men walked away in disgust and the argument stopped.

After rehashing it with himself and his wife, D. was even more convinced that he was right and that the neighbor was entirely wrong. He thought about it for hours and even the next day.  D. was very troubled over the matter. Thoughts about his Christian testimony to the neighbor and how he had reacted troubled D. He could not get any peace as he mulled over what had happened.  He knew he was right, but his reaction could have been better.

As conviction troubled him, D. thought how to remedy his situation.  The neighbor was definitely in the wrong, but D.’s reaction certainly was not Christ-like. Soon he found himself composing a letter apologizing for his actions.
“Dear J.,

“I want to apologize for my actions the other day.  It was wrong of me to lose my temper and say the things I said. I am a Christian, and that behavior is unacceptable …”


Included with the letter was a gift certificate for two at a local restaurant.

Five weeks later a letter appeared in D.’s mailbox. It was from J., and it read,
“Dear D.

“… I have returned your gift certificate.  I cannot accept it, as I had wronged you also.  I hope we can continue to be good neighbors and put this behind us ….”

The matter was smoothed over because one man humbled himself, and made it as right as he could.  No one this side of Glory knows how D.’s handling affected that man, his girlfriend, others that he may have shared the situation with, and others that scoffed at the way D. handled it. A good, Christian testimony had been etched in others’ minds.

Although many Christians have arguments with others, few get it right, as did this neighbor.  I never heard all the details about how J. reacted.  All that does not really matter anyway.  The important thing is that a man saw his error in a situation and attempted to get it right.  If more would value their Christian testimony, obey the convicting “voice of the Holy Spirit”, and handle their actions more Christ-like, Christianity would be a better example than it is to so many today. Thank you D. for your example!

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