Billy was a small, thin, horrible man, spewing out filthy language, always dressed as dirty as the pigs he was hired to watch. One day while visiting Jeanita, we heard a huge commotion. There was Billy trying to feed these huge hogs, obviously afraid of them. They were hungry, and he had the slop. He entered the pen with 12 hogs rushing him, trying to outrun him to the trough. He threw the slop in and ran for his life. Behind the bushes we tried not to giggle. Billy tried to water the pigs; they overturned the trough. He was NOT going to enter that pen again. “Go ahead and die of thirst, you nasty, “f’in” pigs. Go to hell.”
Most of the year, Billy was rude and crude, but when marijuana harvest came around, you didn’t hear a sound out of him. They hired this cowboy on a white horse, who rode around the hills holding a shotgun on his thigh and pistols on his hips, scaring everybody.
One day Billy had a horrific accident at the Feed Barn while buying pig food. Another truck behind him suddenly rolled back, smashing his leg against the tailgate of his truck. Screaming in agony, the helicopter Life Flighted him to Sacramento for emergency surgery and amputate his leg. Months later, Billy was back at the pigs, meaner than ever.
That’s when “The Confrontation” occurred. I had walked down the hill to the bus stop to get my kids. Billy started to pass us in his truck. He jerked to a halt and started cussing me out with a relentless barrage of filth. He was looking for some animals and accused me of taking them. Here I was with three small children watching this whole scene. Every fiber of my being wanted to scream. How dare he talk to me like that in front of my children?
“Holy Spirit help me. What should I do?” The reply, “A soft answer turns away wrath.” That was Proverbs 15:1.
OK then. I softened my voice, and when red-faced Billy took a breath, I softly responded that I was so sorry he had lost those animals. I hoped he would find them. I asked how he was doing and said I was praying for him. Whoa! The transformation in this sad little man was incredible. His features softened; he calmed down; he even gave me a toothless smile.
After that, whenever he saw me, he went out of his way to gently say hi. I was probably the only person in town who tried to be kind. Anger is a tool of Satan. Your children are watching how you respond. Do you “fly off the handle,” screaming obscenities? Or do you take the high road and speak in a manner that brings honor to the Lord? Every day you are given chances to do the right thing. You’ll probably have your own “Pigman Confrontation.” How will you respond? ■