This is Sassy.
Sassy came to live with us not so long after our sweet Ellie girl died and our hearts were still hurting.
Her heart was hurting, too.
We don’t know her story but she’s believed to be about eight years old – hence the white face.
She was found wandering the streets of a town two hours from ours. She was taken to a shelter then Love of Labs of Indiana (LOLIN) placed her in a foster home. (Click here for more information on this fabulous organization.)
She was skittish, nervous. Loud noises terrified her, fast movements even more.
She hated the crate. We tried it once and never will again.
She won’t go into small, tiled rooms like our laundry room or our small half-bathroom downstairs.
She used to flinch when I lifted my hand to pet her sweet head.
She is the sweetest, most gentle, most “I just-want-to-be-loved” dog I’ve ever been around. Ever.
I was once a stray, too. We get each other.
A few days ago, she was in the front yard with me while I watered flowers. She wasn’t on a leash.
I took my eyes off her for a mere moment and when I looked up, she was four houses away.
Immediately, I took-off in a panicked run, yelling in a probably-not-so-nice tone to come back.
The harder I ran towards her and the louder I yelled, the faster she ran away.
Then I remembered the thing about gentle answers and harsh words.
I stopped running. I called her name in a much more loving tone.
Be gentle. Show love. Soothe.
She stopped, turned around and looked me in the eye.
Sensing she was safe and I wasn’t angry with her, she turned back towards home.
I praised her and loved her and welcomed her back.
Honestly . . . I don’t think we’re so different from Sassy.
When we’re running from God, steeped in sin, knowing what we’re doing is not OK, we don’t respond to those who run after us, yelling in anger.
We don’t respond to judgment.
We don’t respond to hate.
We don’t respond to anger.
It’s the quietest and most compassionate of voices that can stop the loudest and meanest of sins.
It’s the truth spoken in gentle love – and only after a relationship is formed.
And it’s the stillness rather than the run that shows we’re here and won’t go anywhere until they come home – to the place of safety.
Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment. – James 2:12-13