©Photo by Elma Larsen
An Unwelcome Incident
We had just moved into the most beautiful house we had ever owned. It was situated at the end of a cul-de-sac, backing onto a woodland. The woodland was often used by dog walkers, but that didn't bother us. Our back garden was large, private, and was well-fenced off from the woods. We loved the peace, tranquility, and the greenery. We were looking forward to a happy life there.
One day as we were gardening, a branch that my husband had just pruned went over the fence, and accidentally fell onto the path of a dog walker. She was outraged, thinking my husband had thrown it to hurt her. He popped his head over the fence to apologize, but she went on her way cursing and swearing at him. He thought nothing of this.
A few days later, we noticed a black bin bag on our patio. Thinking we must have left it when we were gardening, we picked it up to put it away when we discovered that it was full of dog poo. We were shocked at first, but then the feeling of being upset set in. "It must have been that dog walker that was angry with my husband the other day", I thought. We tried to move on and disposed of the bag.
A few days went by, and again we found yet another bag in our garden, full of dog poo. Every time we disposed of it, a new bag would turn up. We got fed up with it, and so the next time another bag of dog poo appeared, we just left it there to show her that we refused to react to her games. Seeing that we were no longer picking up after her, she threw another bag - this time it was a luminous bright blue bag. It was so conspicuous on the green lawn, but nevertheless we left it there untouched!
An Unexpected Crime
Days went by. Not reacting to the dog poo bag anymore must have irritated the woman because one night as we were going to bed around 11:00 PM, no sooner had we switched off the lights, we heard the sound of a very loud roaring car. It was menacingly loud. When we saw lights reflected on our window, we knew they were coming for us. Whoever it was, they had lain in wait for us to go to bed to do whatever it was they wanted to do.
My husband got up (I stayed in bed) and he watched in horror what took place on our front garden. He was so shocked at what he saw that he could barely say anything to me (I was pressing him to describe to me what he was seeing). Suddenly I heard my husband banging so loudly on the window, my heart started to beat with nervousness as I could hear his distress. Then I heard the car increased the volume of its roaring as it sped off into the distance.
My husband came back into the bedroom very upset and shaken. He told me that there was a couple in the car. A guy was driving it and the woman in the passenger seat got out, lifted the ornamental garden statue we had at the front of the garden, ran back into the car, and sped off. The statue was of little monetary value to us, but the whole incident was unbelievably upsetting because whoever they were, they wanted us to witness their crime (or else they would have come quietly much later in the night). We suspected that the woman who stole the statue was the same woman who had been throwing dog poo into our garden over the last few weeks.
After reporting this to the Police, we sat there feeling extremely angry at this woman (and now her partner, as well). Bitterness started to creep into our hearts, then a feeling of vengeance, not forgetting to mention the feeling of hurt also went into the mix. We talked about what we would like to do to them if we ever caught them. Then we thought of ways of trying to catch them, we thought of CCTV, putting traps on the outskirts of our fence, and we even thought about posting their dog poos into their letter box (if we only knew their address). Oh, these vengeful thoughts were eating us up. They drove us crazy! Before long happiness completely left us. We were miserable during the day when we were at work and we would be stressed at night, half expecting something else to happen again. We started to think that maybe they will break in and take all our stuff away, but worse than that -- they may take our lives! So we started to fear for our safety.
We thought the next best thing was just to sell the house and be rid of all these problems. We rang several estate agents to get valuations. They were surprised as they knew we had only just moved in 3 months ago. They asked why we wanted to sell, and we responded that our circumstances have changed (which they did in effect, as we were no longer happy there). The valuations they gave showed that we would be making a big loss if we were to sell the house, so we had to re-think our strategy.
A Powerful Prayer
Being a Christian (not a very strong one at that time), I knew that I could always turn to God whenever I was in trouble. I had befriended someone a few months back (he had helped me in the past), so I thought maybe he can help me again. I didn't know what he advice he would give for such a situation, but it was worth seeing what he may suggest.
My husband and I made an appointment to see him and told him all that happened; our fears, anger, bitterness and hurt. He smiled calmly and told us to pray a blessing over our enemies. I said,
"What?!" I could hardly believe my ears,
"Praying a blessing over our enemies?!"
He nodded and said,
"Pray every night without fail, for 30 consecutive days that God would bless them with the things they would ask for themselves, so that they may be joyful, happy and free. Do this and see that you may not even have to wait 30 days before all would be well again"
What a challenge! I suppose there is no harm in doing this. We may as well, I thought.
So, my husband and I began to pray for the woman and her partner to be blessed by the things they would ask for themselves, so that they may be joyful, happy and free. We prayed together diligently every night without fail. And sure enough after a mere 14 days, the dog poo stopped! We could hardly believe it! It really did work! What a powerful prayer! Despite things going back to normal again, we continued to pray not only to 30 days, but to this very day - 7 years on! We realise that we will always have enemies in this life (even if we didn't make any) because there will always be someone who is jealous or who dislikes us, even for no reason.
A Peaceful Heart, A Peaceful Life
As my Christian faith grew stronger in the years following, this scripture came to my mind:
Matthew 5: 43-46
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children 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. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
Indeed, if you love those who love you, what reward will you get?
But more importantly, if you love & pray for those who persecute you, what reward will you get?
The answer suddenly came to me, we get happiness back! We get our peaceful life back. Then I realise that by praying a blessing over our enemies, I am actually not praying for the good of my enemies, but for the good of me - for my bitter, angry heart to become soft - soft enough for God to enter in and give me His peace and security. Consequently, no one could upset me anymore, no matter what happens! Thus, evil is defeated and cannot prevail in my life (hence why the dog poo stopped).
Who knows what may have happened to the woman and her partner? They may well have gotten blessed with the things they would ask for, got happy, and couldn't be bothered to bother us anymore OR they got happy and moved to another town, who knows? Whatever happened to them for sure God knows, but I don't need to know. All I need to know is that there is power in loving and praying for your enemies, and this is what will help us all to get through this life!
© Elma Larsen. All rights reserved.