Thursday, September 30, 2010

Healing the Sick

I know that healing the sick is in my job description.

I so often feel like I fail at it, and can merely offer words of comfort.

The truth is I can keep my distance with church folks. Those lines have been well drawn over the years.

The hard stuff comes when I face situations like yesterday. The neighbor was squirting a power washer through the fence to spray my dog, enflaming my dogs barks.

I went to check on the neighbor, and see what was happening. She proceeded to yell at me to shut my dog up, as there were people sleeping (5PM in the afternoon). There is an invalid next door I found out in her enraged tirade against my barking dog.

Now, I know that shooting water through the fence at the dog is only going to raise the level of the barking, either because the dog feels attacked, or because the dog thinks it is play time. Neither one is going to accomplish the neighbor's wish that my dog would shut up.

And now, my conscience is stirred within me. I am supposed to visit and heal the sick, and I have a complaint with my neighbor, who is stressed beyond her measure. I feel like I want to throw up my hands, shut the dog away in the kennel full-time, and go visit with the invalid and this woman - alternately throughout the minutes and hours of the time since this encounter.

I beg, what would you do; what have you done? Does being a pastor, and a representative of the church change what I should do, or being a Christian for that matter? What does being a good neighbor say I should do - Biblically and a culturally?

I ask because I am struggling



At October 03, 2010, Blogger johnsue said...

Ah, the stories I could tell about barking/running loose dogs! Here's what I think I'd do... Apologize for the dog's behavior...he is after all "your" responsibility. Ask if you could come visit to get to know them better. When there explain as you did in your post what you think might be an expected response from Dixie. You could offer to get one of those bark-stop collars and see if that works. (I've offered to get one of those for my neighbors' dogs!) Be a compassionate listener. Ask if they would like you to pray with them and/or if it would be okay for you to pray with your wife about their situation. And of course pray before you speak with them that you would be in God's will and that you would be blessed with discernment. I think I'd look at this as a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors better. Oh, and for the record, I'm sure there have been many times that I (and probably you) have been asleep at 5 pm! You've got my prayer support on this one! Hugs, mom

At October 10, 2010, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what's the update on the neighbor? I try to start that kind of conversation with "I would like to be a good neighbor and keep my dog quiet. Could you let me know if there are specific times that I should try to keep my dog(s) inside? Hopefully you would exchange phone #'s, maybe even bring over a "Peace Offering" (something to sweeten everyone's attitude). Of course, ask about their health, if you can help, pray, or otherwise work to get along. Also check if there is a way to physically change your yard, or dog access to that side to lessen the barking..... You could always call the "Dog Lady" for more personal advice :)

At October 11, 2010, Blogger David said...

Had a quick visit the other day. I went over with Sophia. We took an Apple Pie. Knocked on the door once twice, three times, and then did a quick look in the window.
We were seen, the woman who had yelled at us earlier still had curlers in her hair, and ducked back to the back of the house, while she sent the handicapped husband to get the door in his underwear. We apologized for our dog being a nuisance, and offered the apple pie, after we were accosted for "what do you want?". He then mumbled something about his wife being out back a lot, and that it wasn't a big deal.
I think I came away from the encounter even more confused, but less convicted.


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