When Little Things Do the Most Damage
By: Anne Peterson
Catch the foxes for us,
the little foxes
that spoil the vineyards,
for our vineyards are in blossom. – Song of Solomon 2:15
What just happened? We were having a nice conversation when all of a sudden everything went south. It couldn’t have been what was said? It was only a joke. Can’t they take a joke?
Too often, we have expectations we never verbalize. We make a meal, but it wasn’t the meal they were hoping for. We come home late, but figured it was no big deal, so we never bothered to let someone know.
Why is it that the smallest things can get blown up to humungous proportions?
It’s because little things can grow into bigger things. And if enough things happen time and time again, a person starts feeling devalued. This happens especially when someone has a tendency to store their feelings instead of dealing with them, as they happen. Sometimes things grow big in the dark.
Relationships take work. They are like gardens. We can put in the work on making sure the plants are in the right kind of soil, they are watered regularly, and they are the right type for the area we live in. But if we don’t deal with the things that threaten to harm our plants our labor will be in vain.
Luke 6:31 tells us to treat others as we’d like to be treated. Everyone needs kindness. Micah 6:8 tells us we should love kindness. That means we would choose being kind over getting a good laugh. Laughter at someone’s expense is not funny.
When we take care of those in our care, we are creating an environment where people feel valued. Like they really matter.
Sometimes it’s easy to overlook someone. They voice their opinion but eventually, they stop sharing because they realize no one is really listening. They share comments, but no one engages them in conversation. People need to be heard if they are to feel they count.
Many people followed Jesus. Often there would be a mass of people all around him. One day, as it tells us in Luke 8:43-45, a woman approached Jesus. She had a need. And Jesus felt her touch. When he mentioned it to his disciples they reminded him how crowded it was that day. Surely, he couldn’t have felt someone touch when there were so many people around. But our Savior noticed everyone. No one was overlooked. And if anyone spoke, they were sure to be heard by Jesus.
When we know Jesus personally, God begins a work in us. His goal is to make us like Jesus. It’s true, sometimes what others have to tell us may not be of great interest to us. But that doesn’t mean we can dismiss what they say. That’s not what Jesus would do.
What would our homes look like if we treated others as if they were the most important people in the world? I’m sure our homes would become places everyone would want to be. Especially those who call it their home.
There is only one being who doesn’t want us to tend to our gardens well. Satan is the destroyer of relationships. He’s the one who makes us impatient when others are talking. He wants us to monopolize conversations, or cut others short.
But if we saturate ourselves with God’s Word, he works in us making us like his Son. Philippians 1:6 tells us that he will continue that work till he is done. We can learn to be patient instead of short, kind instead of harsh and forgiving as God is to us.
It’s not the big things necessarily that destroy a relationship. Sometimes it’s those pesky little foxes.
Anne Peterson and her husband, Michael have been married for 43 years. Anne is a poet, speaker, published author of 15 books, including her latest book, Always There: Finding God's Comfort Through Loss. Anne has also written and published another memoir, Broken: A story of abuse, survival, and hope. Sign up for Anne's newsletter at www.annepeterson.com or connect with her on Facebook.
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