Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. Matthew 12:34
You will know the tree by its fruit. Matthew 7:20
As a man thinks, so is he. Proverbs 23:7
John 3:6 Flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit
I was awakened (again!) by a neighbor’s dogs barking at 5:00 am. This has happened off and on for the past two years. I am not sure if the barking wakes me up or if I just wake up early and hear the dogs. This time I was bothered enough to put on my hat and gloves and take a walk to discover where these dogs live. I live in a valley with hills on both the north and south of my house. I could hear these dogs barking constantly at the top of the north hill, and proceeded to walk there. It’s amazing how sound can travel! At the farm-house on the crest of the hill were two large dogs that were letting people know that they controlled that territory. I walked up to the fence gate and whistled and yelled at the dogs. They immediately got quiet and stayed quiet. This incident told me lots about myself as well as the owner of the dogs. I spent the morning contemplating the noisy and dogs and whether it was worth the trouble, messing with the owner. I decided that it was not worth my time and effort. An article that was quite helpful to me is called barkingdogs.net at http://www.barkingdogs.net/persuadeneigh3.shtml
The theme of this article is about how to help people who have a barking dog that disturbs them. The interesting part is about the owners of the dogs. Basically it says that keeping a barking dog within earshot of a neighbor’s home is a hostile thing to do. It should be no surprise, then, that the great majority of the time, when you
scratch the surface of a person keeping a barking dog, you will find someone prone to hostility and/or altogether lacking in empathy.
All this leads back to Jesus. In the verses that I quote at the top of the page, He made it abundantly clear that you can make decisions based on the behavior you see coming at you. General Colin Powell says that a general in battle has to make a decision when they only have 40% of the facts. To wait until you have all the information to act, is extremely too late to make the decision. The book BLINK says that your first impression is almost always correct. If someone is acting poorly towards you, then they have a problem with you. You don’t need more information. “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I have spent my life-giving people the benefit of the doubt. “They are just having a bad day.” As I get older I have decided that life is too short to hang out with critical, unhappy people or chasing down barking dog owners.