"Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near." ... Philippians 4:5
Oh! I am so enjoying my yard-sale-find book, From The Ground Up by Amy Stewart. Such perfect timing for me to discover this book so I'm thinking it's definitely a gift from You Know Who.
The author lived on the edge of a beach and fairgrounds in Santa Cruz and her first summer there, she discovered why her neighbors dreaded vacationers. Visitors left trash in the yards and even pulled up plants to take home with them (!) And you won't believe this part:
"I came home and found a couple teenagers sunbathing on my front porch... right in front of my front door. The man had spread out a beach towel ... and the woman was lying on her back with her shirt rolled up...
As usual, I was too astonished to speak. They both had on sunglasses so I wasn't even sure if I was making eye contact with them.
"Hello," I said, thinking I would try the polite approach.
They both looked up at me, said hello in response, and lay back down.
This was too much. I knelt down next to the man and said, "This is my house. It's not a public area. This is like you lying on my front lawn."
The man looked around for a minute, surprised. He looked up at me and at my front door behind me. He turned and glanced at his girlfriend. "Whoa," he said at last, then rolled off his beach towel. They both jumped up as if they had just noticed for the first time that the beach was actually another block away and they ambled off without another word."
Oh my goodness! Can you imagine? Now, I'm known as a gentle person, but in this case? Oh! I would have needed to call upon all the power of God available to not go all wild-eyed-ballistic. ("Excuuuse me, but what the heck are you dooo-ing on myyyy front porch?!?!")
But I admired the way the author handled the situation. She didn't begin yelling about how "all you tourists think you own our town and I'm sick of it! You all throw your trash in our yards and steal our plants, even!"
No, she stayed calm, gentle. She confronted them, yes! But not in an accusatory, lump-them-together-with-a-crowd sort of way. She did not assume they meant any harm nor that they were the trash-tossing, plant-pulling, vacationers-behaving-badly types.
And I think that's how God would want it. To let our gentleness be evident to all, even while we are confronting others. That we'd remember He is near and that we'd view confrontation simply as helping others to understand what is right. And what is not.
Nap in a Bag. Silly Daniel. :)
Thanks to each of you who left helpful, encouraging comments after my post yesterday. I appreciate them so much! The estimate we later received was actually a lot lower than I'd thought it would be. But it's still awfully high. :)
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." ... Proverbs 15:1