Daily D – Proverbs 12:16
A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted. PROVERBS 12:16 (NLT)
Our son and I drove from Virginia to Texas a couple of days ago. We spent the night in Knoxville, Tennessee in a nearly-empty hotel. I flew to Washington D. C. beforehand on a nearly-empty plane. I arrived at a nearly-empty Washington Reagan airport. The roads were busier. The eighteen-wheelers were keeping the supply chain in operation.
We arrived home night before last around 10:30 PM. We had journeyed 1,278 miles on the road. We were tired. I awoke yesterday morning later than normal and groggy. Two cups of coffee later, I was still not fully alert. When someone says, “It’s not the years, it’s the miles,” believe them. Age has something to do with it, too, however.
Then the phone rang. The homeowner’s association president was calling to ask me if we had been disturbed by possible burglars in our part of the neighborhood overnight. Reportedly, around three o’clock in the morning, someone had attempted to break into the trailer attached to our son’s pickup. The police came and noted nothing out of the ordinary. Upon investigation, they were right.
The HOA president is a good man, a retired minister, and we had a pleasant discussion. Of course, what came next is no surprise. Our neighbor complained about us parking the truck and trailer along the curb at the back of their house. However, we would block our driveway or our neighbor’s if we parked in front of our house. The HOA president alerted me that she was walking toward our house. He hung up to intercept her.
After thirteen years, the woman who has alienated, irritated, and aggravated everyone in the whole neighborhood finally turned on us. We stood in our front yard, two ministers, a preacher’s wife, a preacher’s son, his wife, and their baby, and listened for forty-five minutes while she unburdened herself over all the completely criminal things we as a neighborhood have done to her.
Her husband joined in for a while and attempted to say something until she shushed him rather impolitely and continued talking without allowing apology, remedy, solution, or conversation. It was truly amazing to hear all she said. She named every offense made by every neighbor in our part of the neighborhood, including our new next-door neighbor who loves everybody and actually said something nice about our highly-offended friend when we had dinner together last week.
I finally shook hands with the HOA president and said, “I’ve got to go to work.” Our family went inside our house and licked our wounds.
The hardest thing in the world sometimes is keeping your cool when someone else is losing theirs. A person can bite his or her tongue only so long before drawing blood. Sometimes it is wiser to walk away. We do not have to attend every argument to which we are invited.
Today’s verse made me chuckle. At least by this standard, I am a wise man. Better a wise man than a wise guy. If I had attempted to rebut everything, or anything, we heard yesterday morning, the police might have returned on a different errand.
I will keep praying for my neighbor and treat her the way I want to be treated.
Our Father, as far as it depends on me, empower me to live at peace with my neighbor. Make our family a blessing to her. Relieve her of her many hurts. Comfort her tormented soul. Deliver her from evil. Amen.
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Acts 21:10, 11 Several days later a man named Agabus, who also had the gift of prophecy, arrived from Judea. He came over, took Paul’s belt, and bound his own feet and hands with it. Then he said, “The Holy Spirit declares, ‘So shall the owner of this belt be bound by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem and turned over to the Gentiles.’” (NLT)
Acts 20:33-35 “I have never coveted anyone’s silver or gold or fine clothes. You know that these hands of mine have worked to supply my own needs and even the needs of those who were with me. And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (NLT)
Acts 18:9, 10 One night the Lord spoke to Paul in a vision and told him, “Don’t be afraid! Speak out! Don’t be silent! For I am with you, and no one will attack and harm you, for many people in this city belong to me.” (NLT)
1 Kings 19:11-13 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And a voice said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (NLT)