This past Saturday, Tilly and I represented the kennel at Pet Appreciation Week at our local Tractor Supply. I know what you're thinking - what a glamorous life I lead. Yes, it's true.
A couple of different booths were promoting their specialty dog foods. When the unassuming public approached, they were bombarded with questions about what kind of dog food they fed their dogs. If it wasn't the vendor's food, they told the dog owner why they should feed them their product.
Now, having a kennel means I know from very personal experience the DIRECT effect of dog food on how much a dog sheds and....well, how much waste the food produces. So of course I have opinions on dog foods. However, it is rare that I tell a dog owner what they should feed their dog. Every now and then I have, with mixed reactions - blank stares, open hostility, and rarely, a bit of appreciation of my vast knowledge of such things.
Part of respect for others is letting them make decisions with their lives, whether it is what they feed their dog or where they go, and what they do with their time. I assume, as another human being, they possess a certain amount of intelligence (I know, this is a dicey assumption at times), have the same access to the same types of information I do, and can make an informed decision. So while I may have an opinion on another person's decision, telling a person what they SHOULD do from a position of superiority is terribly insulting.
We let friends into our lives and expect feedback from them and generally their opinions are welcome. But unless that is the kind of give and take relationship we have with others, TELLING people or QUESTIONING (yes, I am enjoying the all caps in a yelling kind of way) what they do can be very disrespectful in the least and border-ling bullying at the most.
In other words, be careful out there, Everyone. Respect others, even if you disagree with them. Unless we are talking about dangerous situations, a polite conversation can quickly turn ugly quickly when we step over our boundaries with others.
I know. I have seen it happen. I've had it happen to me. I've probably done it to others. You probably have had it happen to you. Maybe you've done it to others. So let's all just step back and give each other some space, shall we?
Seeing the facial expressions of the customers at TSC being subject to twenty questions about their dog food didn't make for a warm and fuzzy interaction. It was a good reminder that my interactions need to include respect for the other person first.
When we trust the Holy Spirit to guide our words and actions, it can be life changing. Only God knows what is truly best for us. He will not mislead us nor will he badger us. And best of all, He isn't selling us something.
That's pretty good. Remember to keep that trust alive.