I’d like to share a story I heard from Randy Gariss. I am recalling this story from memory, so forgive me if I don’t tell it as well as Randy does.
One day a fellow noticed that there was a straggly looking dog hanging around his property. The dog had no identification, so the man tried to shoo it away, hoping that it would go back home. The dog kept coming back, so the man decided to call the local dog pound to come and take the dog away. The dog catcher happened to be on vacation, so the man was told that it would be the next week before anyone could come for the dog. He said that would be fine.
In the meantime, the man didn’t want the dog to be hungry, so he bought some dog food and fed the grateful critter.
That evening it started to rain, and the soaking wet dog looked so pitiful that the man went out into the pouring rain and opened up a small building in his back yard so the dog could come inside and get dry. The next day the man put a box and an old blanket in the building to give the dog a bed to sleep in.
When the dog pound called the next week to set up an appointment to come and get the dog, the man said, “Don’t bother. I have changed my mind. I am keeping the dog.” He took the dog to the vet for its shots and went to the pet store to purchase all the supplies he needed to give the dog a happy life.
Seven years later, when the dog died, the man cried and cried.
What changed to make the man love that dog? The dog didn’t change. Not one bit. It was the man’s attitude toward the dog that changed. And his attitude changed when he started doing things for the dog. His acts of kindness and the money that he spent on the dog changed the way that he felt toward the creature.
This same principle holds true for our relationships with people. Some people are difficult to love, yet we are commanded to love everyone. Our attitude will change when we start treating people with love. The proper actions will lead to the proper attitude and help us to be more loving toward others. This principle has saved marriages and healed broken friendships.
Try it! You might be surprised to learn how well it works.
“Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”—1 Peter 4:8.