When my husband and I were first married, like many newlyweds, we lived in a small apartment. When the weather was beautiful, all the apartments in our complex kept their windows open to enjoy the refreshing night air. Although open windows provided great ventilation, it also meant that there were no secrets in our neighborhood. Any passerby could hear the arguments, celebrations, and television show selections of all the tenants. It was on one of these beautiful nights that we discovered that the family above us made a large purchase.
There was much activity on the floor above and although we were doing our best to avoid eavesdropping, we deduced quickly that they had purchased…a bird. Not the cute, finch-type birds, but the much larger, much louder, much more expensive parrot. The squawk of this particular bird echoed through the apartment complex and rattled the plates in the cupboard.
The discussion that night (as far as we could tell) was trying to teach the exotic bird how to say different words: “Hello”, “How ya doin’?, “Uh oh”, etc. The bird did an amazing job of training these humans to repeat something a hundred times!
But after the first night, the newness started to wear off. The squawks of that large creature in the small apartment began to erode the nerves of the family members. Finally, we heard it. One night, the patriarch of the apartment tried to teach the bird to say “Shut Your Beak”. He had enough of Mr. Squawky McSquawkerton and an epic volume battle ensued.
I am not sure who won, but the next morning, I saw the bird returned to the pet store. A bird-loving friend of mine says it happens more than one might think. People are not always willing to put in the work or care to invest in a bird and return the animal before they grow in appreciation of its beauty and personal grit and patience.
Do you treat others like the neighbor in the apartment?
Too often, I see people treat others with the same short-sightedness. I know I have. When getting to know someone, I admit have judged, jumped to conclusions, discounted, and disapproved of choices, instead of trying to get to more about who they are. Oftentimes, we think we should build a community with people who act, vote, and live as we do. However, God has called us into a community with people from all backgrounds to help, serve, and teach one another so that all involved are better.
I Thessalonians 5:14-15 (ESV) encourages us to live and grow in healthy community: “And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.”
God is patient with each of us and never gives up on us as we learn and grow. He calls us to do likewise with the struggling, the disenfranchised, the different, and even the annoying. I need to remind myself that I am often more like the bird in that scenario, but God has continued to send loving, patient, and encouraging brothers and sisters in Christ to point me to Jesus and to help me see my beauty. I need to do likewise with those God places in my path for my good and theirs.
Amberly Neese is a popular speaker/teacher, comedian, author, and all-around encourager dedicated to helping you become the joyful person you were created to be.
She helps people like you experience the freedom found in meaningful relationships with God and others. Her bible study, “The Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive” was released in May 2020 by Abingdon Press.
She and her husband have two teenagers and live in Prescott, Arizona, where they enjoy the great outdoors, the Food Network, and all things Star Wars.
Author of “the Belonging Project: Finding Your Tribe and Learning to Thrive” (Abingdon Press, 2020)
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