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  • Writer's pictureitallstartsintheho

Pooper Scooper

I have two adorable terrier dogs. One is a Silky Terrier, and the other is a Yorkshire Terrier. Lexi, our Silky, who is eight years old, was a puppy when we welcomed her into our family. Our Yorkshire, Toto, was given to us six years ago, and he is a year younger than Lexi. They are both the sweetest addition to our family. Lexi is potty trained and goes on mats inside the house, whereas Toto's previous owners taught him to take his business outside. Our family takes turns walking Toto so he can relieve himself.

One morning, it was my duty to take Toto for his first stroll of the day. A brisk walk around the circle in front of my house is enough to stimulate his bowels. Well, what should have been one poop bag turned into two. Not because my dog had stomach issues but because someone else was irresponsible and left their dog's excrement on public property. I shook my head in disappointment and quickly went through my rolodex of dog owners to find the guilty neighbor. I tried to use a process of elimination of who it could be by the size before me. Yup, I embarrassingly did that. I tried to deduce the guilty party with no luck. (You may not know this, but when I was in elementary school, I hoped to have a career as a private investigator. I thought I had some keen detective skills.) As I was about to walk away with Toto, the Holy Spirit stopped me in my tracks and prompted me to scoop up the extra waste and throw it away. I wasn't sure I heard Him correctly, so I briefly stood holding my dog's poop and staring at someone else's. Toto seemed just as confused because he sat and stared at me with his head turned sideways. I was not too thrilled by this directive, but I did it anyway and as quickly as possible. With the two putrid brown bags swinging back and forth in one hand, I walked to my garage and swiftly disposed of both bags in my trash container.

I knew this direction from the Holy Spirit was more than keeping my street sanitary, so I dug deeper to discover the other factors. I sensed Him highlighting a couple of points.

1. As Christians, we have to bear one another's burdens and cover each other instead of exposing one another. Obviously, significant issues need to be corrected. Conversely, plenty of minor ones do not need to be flagged for all to be aware. Those can be "discretely picked up and thrown away."

"My beloved friends, if you see a believer who is overtaken with a fault, the one who is in the Spirit should seek to restore him in the Spirit of gentleness. But keep watch over your own heart so that you won't be tempted to exalt yourself over him. Love empowers us to fulfill the law of the Anointed One as we carry each other's troubles. If you think you are somebody too important to stoop down to help another (when really you are not), you are living in deception."

~Galatians 6:1-3 (TPT)

2. As Christians, we are a channel of forgiveness and not a reservoir where it stops with us. We are far from perfect, have committed more than our share of transgressions, and require forgiveness. And just as God forgave us, we must forgive others too.

"Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you." ~Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

I could have left the other dog's waste where I found it, but that's like me not forgiving someone else's wrongdoing and allowing it to have space in my mind rent-free. When we embrace forgiveness, it's the deliberate action of picking up the poop and disposing of it.

This pooper scooper lesson was one of the more unique ways of learning how to love my neighbor, but I think the Holy Spirit knew I needed it. As we gather with friends and family this holiday, let's continue to lift one another's burdens, forgive without delay, and treat our neighbors the way we would want to be treated.

"Love your neighbor as yourself." ~Leviticus 19:18 (NIV)

Have a wonderfully blessed Thanksgiving! I have a growing list of what I am grateful for, and you are on it twice.☺ Thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedules to read my humble thoughts each week.

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