“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35)

While heading to a funeral wake, a friend shared about how she believed the importance of learning not to hold grudges.

Often, when we are in the wrong, we seek grace from others. But just as often, we hold double standards – expecting kindness to be extended to us, but holding grudges against others – without even realising it.

Around the same time, a friend’s Facebook post with the caption “They will know us by our love” caught my attention. It led me to a Desiring God article titled We Die a Thousand Ways in Love.

As I read the Desiring God article, I reflected on my own extension of grace and kindness to others.

Then I was taught a lesson in this area by my dog, Lady-Mae.

The more we learn and practice His Word, the more we grow in maturity – especially when extending gestures of kindness to others.

I’d taken her to the “dog run” – a designated enclosed field where dogs can run freely. It’s like a doggie equivalent of human cafes – a place where we meet with friends and hang out.

A pair of dogs entered with their owner, and just as they were meeting and greeting, one of the dogs had an altercation with mine.

Since there was no blood shed and Lady Mae continued to interact with the other dogs present, I thought nothing of the incident. Later, as we were leaving the park, we met the same pair of dogs, and Lady Mae joyfully went to greet the same dog she’d had the confrontation with earlier.

Four days later, I noticed that my dog kept licking a certain spot on her body. When I checked it out, I found a bite on her – a deep gash resulted from her earlier encounter.

I learnt two things from this incident.

One, it exemplified how authentic kindness and grace should look like.

In witnessing Lady-Mae’s desire to meet her fellow canine friend even though they just had an altercation, I am prompted to reflect on how proactive I am in expressing kindness and grace to others.

I’m certain that Lady-Mae remembered the incident with the other dog, but that did not prevent her from making the first move to reach out.

My second lesson was gained from my understanding of how Lady-Mae’s training had grounded her in a way that enabled her to walk away from the incident unaffected. The episode did not alter her temperament, nor did it stop her from interacting with other dogs.

Similarly, the more grounded we are on the word of God, and the more we learn and practice His Word, the more we grow in maturity especially when extending gestures of kindness to others.

I repent for not being as kind, gracious and loving as I should be. I am humbled that God always gives us many chances on this side of eternity.

I am grateful that I am surrounded by friends and family who live out these values and model them to me, challenging me also live them out with authenticity so that they will know us by our Love.

This article was first published at Church of our Saviour and republished with permission.