Monday, March 24, 2014

Barely Tolerated or Loved Unconditionally?

Cesar Millan and Daddy
I was watching Cesar Millan, The Dog Whisperer the other day and the featured bad dog was a pit bull who was aggressive toward other dogs...a dangerous thing, since a pit bull could actually kill another dog with its aggression. To make a long story short, Sandy, the dog was rehabilitated by a woman named Cherie Lucas, who operates a no-kill shelter in California. However, both Cherie and Cesar agreed that even though the dog was rehabilitated, they felt that the owner wasn't right for the dog. He had soft energy or some such thing. They felt bad telling the owner that they felt the dog should stay at Cherie's facility, since he was doing so well there, but the owner only wanted what was best for Sandy. He agreed to let her stay where she was thriving.

In another episode, Cesar mentioned that no dog is born aggressive. If a dog becomes aggressive, it's because he/she has lost trust or respect. When a dog loses trust, it becomes insecure. These things combined made me think about our Foxy. Has Foxy lost trust in us? Although she appeared to want to be the boss, was she actually insecure? She obviously has lost respect. But we've lost respect of her as well. And we've lost trust. Were we not good owners for our dog, like Sandy? Do we have "soft energy?"
Cherie Lucas, owner: Second Chance at Love Humane Society

It makes sense. The trainer assures us that Foxy is a different dog with her.  She's happy. She's thriving. She's showing no signs of aggression, except toward a cat, which is a normal dog reaction. We do want what's best for Foxy (and for us!), and obviously, it's not us. 

That made me a little sad, and a little disappointed. We tried so hard. And we really tried to love her. There were times when I did love her, but more often, I tolerated her at best. And I believe she basically tolerated me too. 

I'm so glad that we have a God who doesn't just tolerate us. He loves us unconditionally, even when we lose trust or respect. When we become insecure, He offers us the security of the love of Christ. Can you imagine if God loved us based on our behavior? If he simply tolerated us when we acted out or acted up?

Sadly, many people believe in this kind of a God, and I think the "holiest" Christians even believe that at times. We think God must be so mad at us, or disappointed in us because we (fill in the blank). But that's what's so wonderful about repentance...grace...mercy...

When we fail, when we disappoint, when we sin, we can...and should...come freely to our Father God, our Master and receive forgiveness through the blood of Jesus. He offers us mercy and extends grace to those who humbly repent. He longs for us to come to Him.

Recently (when Foxy was still living with us), Brian was petting Foxy and hit a spot she didn't wasn't comfortable with and she turned on him. She didn't really bite him; it just sounded like she did, and she realized what she was doing and stopped. Immediately, she put her front legs on his lap, put her ears back and kissed his face, as if to say, "I'm so sorry. I don't know what came over me. Please forgive me." She was so cute, you couldn't help but forgive her (see, I do have a heart!). That's how God sees us when we repent. He can't help but forgive us!

How do you see God? Do you see Him as a taskmaster? One who basically tolerates your behavior and only picks out the bad things, not seeing the good in you? Or do you see Him as a loving Father, quick to forgive, One who easily forgets your sin, your inadequacies and your faults, only seeing the good, the very good person that He made you to be? Be quick to come to Him. Don't stay away. The longer you stay away, the more you will lose trust, which will allow insecurity to fester. Don't stay away.

Blessings Along the Path,

Song of the Day
You Are Good (Kari Jobe)

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