Stop Barking!

January 29, 2021 by  
Filed under Humor, Stories

By Jodi Whisenhunt –

Mine is a three-dog family. The neighbors to our west are a two-dog family; to our south, one-dog; southeast, another three-dog home. Our adjoining backyards are bound by six-foot tall, wood-slat privacy fences. However, none of these nine guardians believes those fences adequate security from the mangy mongrels on the other side, so they insist on barking and snarling and gnashing their teeth at each other, unseen adversaries that they are.

Many times I have pleaded with my poochies, “Seriously, dogs! You’ve been neighbors for years. Stop trying to eat each other through the fence!” To which the two little Germans respond with a smug dachshund look and the Aussie blue heeler’s hair stands higher on her shoulders. (If you haven’t spent much time around dachshunds, just imagine a teenager being reprimanded. OK, you now know the look I’m talking about!) With a farewell gnashing of teeth, my three usually cower to my bidding and saunter back inside.

Now, you would think after many years of residing in close proximity, that these animals—a species known for its scent recognition skills—would be quite familiar with each other. But no, each encounter is a new and fresh adrenaline rush, littering the air with loud shrills. And each time, I shake my head and think my dogs are like Pooh, “a bear of very little brain.” I love my dogs, but they cannot seem to love their neighbors. They continue to consider them enemies.

As humans, we are called to love both our neighbors and our enemies. Yet sometimes we do no better than these dogs.

Matthew 5:43 says, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’” Many people stop right there and ignore verses 44-48. They find fault with their neighbor, whether the neighbor be a nearby resident or a regular acquaintance, and they camp out in resentment. They disregard the remainder of Christ’s advice, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Do not smile and wave if inwardly you resent. Do not feign friendship, then slander when out of earshot. “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD” (Leviticus 19:18). Stop sneering through the knot holes. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink” (Romans 12:20). And above all, love one another.

About Jodi Whisenhunt

Jodi Whisenhunt is a Christian wife, mom, homeschooler, writer, editor, kid taxi, very tired person who is blessed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She is an Amy Writing Award recipient and the Senior Content Editor of The Christian Pulse. Her highly acclaimed Magical Mouse Schoolhouse ( shows kids how to learn while they play when Disney IS school.
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3 Responses to “Stop Barking!”
  1. Elaine says:

    Dogs are funny that way! Be perfect, I always cringe at those words. But then I stop and remember I have the creator of the universe helping me along the way. I try to focus on that. He will help me get there. Thanks for reminding me of this binding truth.

  2. Kim says:

    We are a two dog house, one of which is a dachshund/yorkie mix (known as a Dorky!) I know exactly what look you’re writing about! Thanks for a perfect illustration of how we are called to love.

  3. Dianne says:

    BARK! Er, um, I mean, awesome thought, Jodi.

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