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Girlfriends in God - Oct. 18, 2007

  • 2007 Oct 18


October 18, 2007

Barking! Barking! Barking!

By Sharon Jaynes



Today’s Truth

“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs that it may benefit those who listen.” Ephesians 4:29 TNIV


Friend to Friend

Even when I’m tucked away on my patio behind my house, I can tell when a neighbor is going for a walk or a jogger is bouncing down the street. It starts with Mitzi, the white kakapo one block away. Yip. Yip. Yip. Then it moves two houses down with Duchess, the black Labrador. Bow. Wow. Wow. The wave continues to move closer with Pal, the standard poodle. Arf. Arf. Arf. And onto Sprout, the collie. Woof. Woof. Woof.


Finally, the pedestrian turns off Stratfordshire Drive onto my side street, Trafalgar. All of a sudden, the doggie hallelujah chorus breaks out with my dog, Ginger, Alice the white lab and Maple the Heinz 57 across the street, and Duchess the German shepherd next door. I usually don’t see the passerby, but I can surely hear the snarls and insults from the dogs as he or she strolls along.


When I take my routine three-mile walk through the neighborhood I too am greeted by the wave of barking dogs indignant that I should dare pass by their turf. I try not to let it hurt my feelings. However, the chain reaction of barking, jeering, growling, and gnashing of teeth, never ceases to unnerve me.


The truth is, I wish the pups would wag their tails as I walk by as if to say, “Oh, there’s that sweet Mrs. Jaynes. My, how I like her. I wish she were my master and we could take walks together. Mrs. Jaynes! Mrs. Jaynes! Won’t you please come over and pat my head?” I wish they would run up to the fence, jump up sweetly and rest their paws beckoning me to stop for a visit. However, for the twenty years I walked the same route, this has never happened. It’s always growl, ruff, and bark. You’d think I’d get use to the barking. But I never do.


I hate to admit it, but it’s been the same way in life from time to time. As I’ve walked down the path of years, especially down that road less traveled, I have heard some unfriendly barking, some disapproving jeering, and a few disdainful growls. Sometimes it’s a complaint because I’m not living up to someone’s expectations. Sometimes it’s because I’m not following someone else’s plan for my life. And sometimes it’s because I’m coloring outside the people imposed lines.


But let’s just stop and call it what it is. Barking. Yapping. Howling.


Thankfully, among the barking from the dogs during my neighborhood stroll are friendly salutations from neighbors and passers-by. “Good morning,” a friend calls out from watering her garden. “Have a good day,” a neighbor calls as she passes by on her way to work. “Hi Mrs. Jaynes,” a boy shouts as he speeds by on his bike. Theses are the words I treasure along the way.


As friends, we have the opportunity to cheer someone on during their busy day or simply bark, yap and howl. A good friend will not tear someone down with her tongue but build her up with positive words as they walk along life’s journey together.


I have often heard that there are two types of people: those that brighten a room when they enter and those that brighten a room when they leave. The barking whiny ones take the dark cloud with them when they leave. The positive cheery ones reflect God’s light when they arrive. Which one are you? Simply take a look at the faces of the people around you when you walk into a room. If you’re not getting the response you hoped for, re-evaluate your words and attitude. God is all about change!


Let’s Pray

Oh my. Dear Father, I think I barked today. It may not have sounded like a dog’s bark, but it was definitely a bark. Help me have words that build people up and not tear them down. That includes words to my husband and my children. Today…no barking allowed. In Jesus’ name, Amen


Now It’s Your Turn

Think about the people that you enjoy being around. What qualities in them draw you to them?


Do you need a shock collar? Do you know what that is? It is a collar you can put on dogs to teach them not to bark. When they bark, they get a little shock. They don’t like itJ Ask the Holy Spirit to be your “bark collar” this week. When you bark, invite Him to shock your conscience. Who knows, maybe you won’t like it and stop!


More from the Girlfriends

Want to learn more about controlling the tongue? See Sharon’s book, The Power of a Woman’s Words and the Power of a Woman’s Words Bible Study Guide.


Seeking God?

Click here to find out more about having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.


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Matthews, NC 28106








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