Often my neighbors and I talk about the varmints that live in our attics. We have tons of squirrels. Then there are the raccoons and opossum which ravage our insulation with their nests and filth.
“There is no way to get rid of them,” I told a new neighbor during a recent conversation, “not as long as the people who live behind me are feeding them.” This well-meaning very elderly couple attract the animals like mosquitoes with their peanuts, bird seed and cat food. This has been going on for decades. Obviously, the animals are smart enough to not hide in the offending couple’s house because they continue to be the neighborhood feeding station.
Within the mentally challenged (developmentally delayed/mentally retarded) community, there is a wonderful axiom that every person should all learn to live by. If someone is harassing a member of The Special Gathering, a ministry within this cloistered sub-culture, they are taught to “ignore them and walk away.”
Of course, our members don’t always follow their own advice. People who have symptoms of autism seem especially sensitive to hurts and offenses. Arnold paces frantically reciting the hurts of the day. “He called me stupid. She tries to speak to me. He won’t speak to me…”
I remember taking Michelle in the post office one Saturday when I was checking my mail. Michelle is a college student who exhibits autistic tendencies. Her diagnosis bounces from Asperger’s Syndrone to High-functioning Autism. She has an off-the-charts IQ.
We had gone our separate ways once in the post office building because she wanted to get some stamps. Suddenly, she began to scream. I raced to her, calling out her name. “What is wrong?” I asked when I found her in the deserted post office hallway, sobbing between her screams of “No! No! No!”
Within a few minutes, she had calmed herself enough to tell me, “The machine is out of stamps! I wanted to mail this letter to a mail order company and they are out of stamps. How could the post office do this to me?” She has never used that post office again and she emphatically states that she “never will.”
However, ignoring the offender is a tried and true Biblical principal. We are all familiar with the scripture that says, “‘Vengence is mine. I will replay,’ says the Lord.” Solomon said in Proverbs 20:22, “If someone does something against you, don’t try to punish him yourself. Wait for the Lord! In the end, he will make you the winner.”
Each of us needs to remember that feeding the varmints of hurt and disappointment in our lives will only reap more and bigger hurts. Walking away and ignoring the hurts rather than feeding them will always result in a better life.
Are there areas in your life that you are “feeding” what should be ignored? Have you seen other people who have benefited from this godly principle?