We had a dog a few years ago named Phoebe. I worked from home, and she was not fond of me being on the computer or the phone. Once, when I was talking on the phone, Phoebe sauntered up to me, stood up on her hind legs, and leaned into me as if to say get off the phone. When that didn’t work, she went into the bathroom and rummaged through the trash can.
When I hung up, I found torn-up tissues, a crushed and ripped toilet paper roll, chewed up Q-tips, and a mangled, empty toothpaste tube in the hallway. She left me quite a mess to clean up, all because she wanted my attention, and I didn’t give it to her.
As I was cleaning up the mess and yelling at her, I had to admit, at times, I’m no different from my dog. I have moments of selfishness and times when I think that the world revolves around me. Let’s not forget the times that things don’t go my way. When I feel set aside, poorly treated, irritated or somehow ripped off, I go through the mental trash can and toss things out into my house verbally, with an attitude, when I shouldn’t.
The sad thing is that when I toss something out of the trash can, it sometimes lands on the people I love. It is unfair that those I love have to deal with the mess. After all, they are not the ones who had a bad day or a bad break or unfair treatment. Yet, I have made it their problem. I have no right to scatter my trash around them. They are the ones who build me up and try to make things better. They shouldn’t have to clean up my garbage, too.
I don’t know how Phoebe felt when she watched me clean up her mess. But the aftermath for me is dealing with remorse, regret, and handing out apologies. Sometimes, though we apologize, the person we’ve lambasted can’t unhear what we’ve said. Words hurt just like we hurled sticks and stones that cut into them. The wounds take time to heal.
We’ve been in quarantine a while now. Tempers are probably short, and things people do are more irritating to us than usual. It’s okay to say something about whatever is bothering or upsetting you if you do it lovingly. But keep it brief and spare those you love by staying out of the trash can.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.