Once upon a time, in a land that might or might not be far, far away, there lived a troll. This troll, like any troll, had "issues", not the least of which is her overwhelming anger. Sure she had friends she could growl with, but it wasn't enough to satisfy the pain in her heart.
One day she happened to find the house of someone she could hate. She knew a little bit about this person and it was enough. She settled in under their porch and prepared herself for a good time.
She anticipated so much fun she invited over some friends. They took turns leaving angry, nasty comments for the homeowner to find. But something went horribly wrong for them. For two weeks, nothing happened! They felt neither rewarded nor relieved.
The troll soon realized the homeowner's sister's address was posted proudly on the wall so she crept over and hid under the unsuspecting sister's porch. What the troll didn't seem to realize was that the sister's home welcomes anyone exploring their faith or (and this is the good part) for anyone looking to learn from the many mistakes she made in raising her children.
The troll spent some time exploring the home, and maybe she thought she had all the ammunition she needed when she launched her first round. But alas, shouting recriminations about poor parenting skills or poking at her faith...it made the sister chuckle.
"Why 'yes'!" the sister admitted, "You're right! I'm not perfect, by far. I've made many mistakes. I've wept many a tear and I've learned a lot. I've grown stronger but more importantly I've grown closer to God. Through my trials I've developed a deeper faith. Please, come in and stay a while. I'd like to hear more about your experiences. You're welcome any time you want; I love to talk about my faith. You don't have to agree with me. I appreciate the company and the opportunity to explore and share!"
I'm not sure how this story ends. You tell me....
Dear Lord, I pray for people who feel the need to criticize and be negative in a world already filled with pain and sorrow. Bless us as we strive to do our best, by Your grace. Help us all to love one another as You have commanded us. Amen.