The pounding on the door startled me.
We hadn’t been home very long. Returning from my father-in-law’s funeral and all that entailed had been exhausting. My husband peeked through the glass.
“Do you know this guy?”
The man standing on the front porch gave off the vibe of a tightly coiled rattler. I shook my head.
“Never seen him.”
Todd frowned but opened the door to the stranger with a welcoming smile.
“Hello! Can I help you?”
The stranger was stocky. His neck was mottled red, his fists curled at his side.
“Yeah, you can do something for me. Is this your dog?”
He yanked out his phone and held it up, displaying the picture of a gray-spotted Australian shepherd. We both leaned in to look. My husband shook his head.
“No, it isn’t.”
“Some of the neighbors said it’s yours.”
“We have an Aussie, but ours is a red Tri. That one is a blue Merle.”
The irate man nearly snorted in derision. “Okay. This dog tore up my brand new French drain.”
I shook my head. “Our dogs have been boarded for the past two days. My father-in-law passed away and we just returned home.” I looked up at my husband. Grief still shadowed his features. Couldn’t the stranger see the despondency wrapped around him?
No, of course not. His mind was on one thing. Retribution.
That’s the thing about rage. Anger is the beast that makes us blind to others’ needs and deaf to their cries.
The angry man blinked, his expression suspicious. “I fully expect the owners to lie about it.”
I shrugged. “That’s terrible about your drain. I haven’t seen that dog, but I’ll keep my eyes out for it.”
His nostrils flared. “No need. I just came to tell its owners not to be expecting it to come home.”
The furious man stomped away. I turned to Todd. “Do you think he’s only threatening to hurt that dog?”
Todd shook his head sadly. “No. Did you see how angry he was? He already killed it. His goal was to rub it in.”
I was so glad we had decided to board our dogs for an extra day as we recovered from the trip. The stranger was likely to shoot our dogs just for breathing. The exchange has bothered me ever since.
It wasn’t my Aussie, but the terrible situation got me thinking…what would I have done if he had killed my dog?
After all, I’m the one writing books about forgiveness, constantly telling my kids how to deal with those difficult kids in their lives, but when it comes down to it, my first inclination would be to call the police, blast the injustice all over social media and go Carrie Underwood on his truck.
But that’s not what Jesus has asked me to do.
I pray I would respond like the woman in the story of “Chicken Pot Pie”.
Don’t get me wrong. Doing the Christ-like thing wouldn’t be automatic. God and I would likely have a wrestling match about it, but I hope when all was said and done, I would be like Jesus.
Here’s the story of “Chicken Pot Pie”:
There was once a woman who lived alone in a quiet neighborhood. Her greatest joy in life was caring for her chickens.
She would rise every morning as the sun broke over the horizon and feed her chickens, laughing at their clucking and playful antics. She gave each of them a name and treated them with motherly care.
Her next-door neighbor wasn’t near so fond of the fowl. He complained incessantly about the noise, the smell and the sight of them.
One morning, after the rooster had awakened him at daybreak, he marched over to the lady’s house and startled her by banging on the front door. He yelled, belittled her and cursed her and her pet chickens. She apologized profusely and even agreed to erect a wooden fence between their property so he wouldn’t have to look at the messy creatures any more.
The next morning, the woman left to go to the grocery store. While she was gone, the chickens grew startled by a neighborhood dog and began squawking. Infuriated, the man stomped into the yard and strangled every single one of the lady’s precious pets.
When she arrived home and saw the carnage, she wept deeply. She knew the culprit. She’d witnessed his violent temper and knew his opinion of her sweet pets. Broken-hearted, she asked God what she should do.
Serve him, He whispered to her heart.
Serve him? The man who’d destroyed her precious chickens? No. No way.
But God refused to let it go.
She submitted and wondered what she could do to serve her cranky neighbor. Inspiration struck and she ran to the kitchen to work. Do you know what she did? She used the chickens he’d killed and made him a chicken pot pie.
Several hours later, she stood at his door and knocked. He jerked open the door and glared until he saw the steaming dish in her hands.
She forced a smile. “I wondered if you’d like some chicken pot pie. Someone killed all my chickens and it’s a shame for the meat to go to waste.”
Stricken, the man’s face lined with guilt. Dropping his gaze to his shoes, he invited her in to share the meal with him.
In time, because of the woman’s obedience and love, the cranky neighbor began to soften. They became friends. One morning, he even accompanied her to church and eventually gave his life to Christ.
All because of a lady’s obedience and a chicken pot pie.