I have been laughing all week every time I think of something a friend sent to me. Some of you will have seen it on Facebook. It’s a cartoon picture of a hen. The caption reads, “I may look calm, but in my head I’ve already pecked you three times.” I can so identify with this chicken! Probably, we have all had our moments of putting on what I call, the plastic smile. This particular frozen face fixture shows itself as a cover for what one is really feeling; something like, an arched eyebrow with lips parted which would properly communicate, “were you born a moron or did you acquire this trait at a later time in life?” To actually say this would not be nice; hence, the calm hen look.
We have all learned how to be socially acceptable, to be polite, to be nice, to certainly not reveal, at times, the thoughts that are really going through our minds. In most instances, we can acknowledge a simple clash of personality and just move on, but at other times, the desire to actually peck the irritating someone becomes overwhelming. Sometimes, the irritation can grow into a bitterness that zaps away our inner peace and our ability to function as we should in other areas of our lives because our minds are too busy pecking! What to do?!?!?
I’ll share something that I have watched my mother do my entire life. She, like all of us, has had her share of dealing with irritating people. Many times these people have been unkind to her. When her own desires to go pecking would turn into an uncharitable yearning, she would say, “time to heap some coals.” As a child I didn’t quite know what that meant. As I grew older I understood. She was quoting from Romans 12:17-21: “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give righteous place to wrath, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine. I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore, if your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty, give him a drink. For in so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”
As the years passed by I gained a deeper understanding. This “heaping coals” through showing kindness, wasn’t just something good for the offending person, but it was wonderful for anyone exercising this attitude. I discovered myself, that instead of deliciously picturing a pecking episode in my mind, if I alternatively pictured some kind word or action, the irritation that had taken hold of me would ease away.
Being overcome with thoughts of pecking never turns into anything wonderful. Being overcome with determination to show simple kindness, amazingly, does a world of goodness to both sides. As the above instruction tells us: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”