Monday evening I was relaxing with my family and contemplating the
upcoming opportunity to check the inside of my eyelids for holes.
Suddenly my eldest daughter shrieked "There's a dog out there with a
chicken in it's mouth!" or something roughly equivalent. That was
particularly disheartening because we are in the midst of raising
chickens for the first time ever.
I ran outside and brandished the closest conceivable weapon: a shovel
which had been leaning against the apple tree. Chasing the dogs away we
began to survey the damage. A series of our chickens had been eaten
completely by these beasts and a few more lay strewn about our yard in
various macabre positions. Further detail isn't necessary. Suffice it
to say that once the Dogs had satisfied their hunger they merely
desired to satisfy their outright glee at killing my chickens.
Not a live chicken was in sight and I prepped the kids for the end of
the chicken raising experiment and sent the youngest inside. After
cleaning up the mess I got in the car with my wife and prayed. I knew
who's dogs they were and I knew that I was upset enough to do and say
something that could easily build a wall between the young couple that
owned the dogs and the gospel of Jesus Christ. God had burdened my
heart to be careful with what I said. So I asked for help controlling
The confrontation was … non-confrontational. The young woman was
instantly apologetic and blinked but didn't protest when I told her
what it would cost to replace the various plain and fancy breeds and
buy food to raise them back to maturity. I returned home gratified that
the chickens could be replaced.
To my surprise several frightened birds began to emerge from the
cornfields around our house as night began to fall and we one by one
coaxed eighteen of them back into their repaired enclosure. The kids
were elated at their return – especially when we discovered that all
but one or two of the family favorites had survived the event.
That night I thought long and hard about my response scheduled the
following morning. I had made my decision. When the sun was up and the
day was moving I prayerfully knocked on the door and was greeted this
time by the man of the house. We exchanged a few pleasantries and I
presented him with an approximated bill from the catalog showing the
cost of replacement.
Then I advised him that I had decided to forgive the debt, and I
shredded the bill. To his honor he insisted on paying so I expressed
again that I was going to pay the bill myself, but I wanted to explain
to him how a greater debt was paid.
I loved his words at this point, "Well I guess I owe you that much."
carefully began with a brief gospel explanation. How we had accumulated
a debt of wrongdoing against God and yet he lovingly paid the death
penalty with his own son's life so that we could be forgiven if we'll
only accept the offer.
I hoped against hope that they might become believers because of this
brief encounter. And even though they did not a few dead chickens are a
small price to pay for the opportunity to explain the gospel clearly to
someone who may not have listened otherwise.