"May the Lord make your love
increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as
ours does for you."
I live in a house with two cats and two
dogs. Yes, that's a lot of animals. And yes, it's not always easy.
The cats and dogs have always had a
Sneezy and Squawker had been a family with
me for over three years before Kasey and Annie came on the scene.
Dogs in the house were nothing new; I would often dog-sit for
friends. The cats would patiently bide their time until the "guest"
left our home. But then one day Kasey walked in--and she never
I remember the day well, and I especially
remember it was a very difficult time for Kasey. Her previous family
had found themselves in a situation in which they couldn't keep her
anymore, and I agreed to give her a home. I can only imagine her
confusion: to have a stranger show up at your home, to have
your family place you in this stranger's vehicle, and
to have this stranger take you away from the family you had always
known and loved. Kasey sat in the back seat of the car and silently
looked out the rear window as we drove away. When we arrived at her
new home, she followed me into the garage, but then I gave her a
terrible scare when I suddenly lowered the electric garage door. My
poor girl--this was not a happy time for her, and I'm sure she very
much needed a friendly face at that point.
we walked into the house, and she saw the cats. There had been
friendly cats at her last home--finally, something familiar and
comforting! For the first time that evening, her tail began to wag as
she walked up to one of the cats. But alas, the cats scattered off,
and once again Kasey was alone.
She wasn't alone for long, of course. Kasey
and I bonded quickly, and very soon we were the best of friends. A
few weeks later, and Orphan Annie joined our family--now Kasey had a
sister! And now I had four kids. Two cats and two dogs
were starting to get interesting.
The cats weren't too bothered by Kasey,
simply because she didn't bother much with them. Annie, though, was a
whole other story: she was a puppy, and anytime the cats made any
kind of quick motion, she took it as an invitation to
play. The cats soon learned to find the high ground,
and some kind of feline/canine truce seemed to be in effect. They
didn't have to like each other, but they did have to live with each
other, so they learned to tolerate each other.
Fast forward almost a year. The truce is
still in effect
but one day I happen to look over and catch
something that just about knocked me off the couch. Kasey was across
the room, minding her own business. Sneezy happened to be walking
past. Sneezy looked at Kasey, took a quick sniff, and then--very
deliberately--leaned up, and rubbed, against Kasey--as if they were
old friends! The everyday nearness of each other--their
fellowship--had caused barriers to gradually fall; not
only had Sneezy accepted their role as housemates, he had come to
have affection towards the dogs.
teaches us that, when we don't like someone, it's not enough to
merely "tolerate" that person. In Matthew 5:44 He says, "Love your
enemies and pray for those who persecute you." Don't
just tolerate them--pray for them! Paul says something
very similar in Romans 14:19--"Let us therefore make every
effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification."
He echoes that thought in Ephesians 4:3--"Make every effort to keep
the unity of the Spirit through the bond of
The Lord desires for us to be in fellowship
with each other. In this world, though, that's not always easy.
People aren't always easy. What then do we do? First,
we follow Paul's advice and make every effort to reconcile a broken
relationship. Jesus teaches us to pray for such people. These are all
vital elements. But I learned something from animals as
well: fellowship can be the medicine that heals a
broken relationship. Spending time together, getting to know your
distanced brother or sister: what struggles are they facing? What
sorrows and pains weigh on their hearts? You might be surprised to
learn that they, like you, are traveling through difficult times. As
a wise person once said, "Be kind--everyone you meet is fighting a
You just might be surprised by the power of
If you have anything of interest to add to
or you have general comments, questions, or ideas,
we welcome your response.
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