October 22, 202
All of us come across people every now and then who are easily upset or offended. Often we learn to avoid these people or walk on eggshells whenever we are around them. How do we effectively deal with these people or even have a relationship with them.
These type of people remind me of a cat that Nancy and I had when we were first married. Her name was Molly, Nancy and I were browsing in a pet store and Nancy was petting a kitten in its cage. As a sales person passed I overhear Nancy ask how much is the kitten? To which the salesperson replied she’s free. At that point I knew we had a cat. Molly was very touchy. The first night I rolled over and she hissed at me for getting to close (meanwhile she was on my bed).
As Molly got older she grew more confident and would purposely intimidate and even scratch at guests. She had a special ability to sense those who were a little nervous and pay special attention to them. I can remember her climbing the shelves near the door so she could scratch and hiss at the people coming in the door. Ed and Edith’s curtains had a claw mark where she scratched at Berry.
The problem was that in the first home she was in the two other cats that lived there attacked and almost killed her. For this reason she had real trust problems and would not take to people easily. Nancy and I had her for a while and over time she became very comfortable and good to us. She would jump onto Nancy’s lap when she got home from work and purr while Nancy’s rubbed her ears.
How was it that Nancy and I could have a good (if sometimes frustrating) relationship with Molly this touchy and sometimes mean little cat. Simple, we fed her, took care of her, welcomed her and made her feel safe and comfortable. We still had to discipline her and not let her get into things she shouldn’t be. Eventually Molly learned that we were looking out for her and would not hurt her and actually grew to like us.
What did we do with the cat that might be helpful with people? We approached the cat with a positive attitude, we wanted to help and care for her and wanted her to like and trust us. Further we gave her chances; I was scratched and hissed at many times. We continued to care for her giving her what she needed not what she deserved. We didn’t become angry or hatful toward her. Notice that these are all things Jesus seeks in his people (Luke 10:27; Luke 19:10; Mat 2:12-14; Mat 18:22-23).
We all have to deal with people who are touchy and may even hurt us. If we approach them as Jesus would often these very people can not only be part of our life without causing too much heartache but can actually become our friends.
~ Kevin Cleary