As part of an assignment for a speakers conference I attended with Carol Kent, this was another assignment I needed to complete....a personal experience with a spiritual application. Here's what I shared...and of course the pictures are a bonus for you. :-)
Recently, we had to give a dog away, one who had become quite dear to us. We’ve had him a couple of years, he was a Beagle and our youngest really loved him. But there was something about their relationship. Even though she loved him the most he treated her the worst. He had already bitten her a couple of times, and each time it happened, we said we would have to get rid of him, but each time our heart would soften because she would cry and cry so that he wouldn’t have to go. She loved to hug him, cuddle with him, lay on his bed with him...but he didn’t care for that. He would be okay most times, but if she “loved” him certain ways, he would growl, snap or nip at her. He seemed to be getting nastier and we could see negative changes in him. Even though she was warned numerous times, her actions did not change. On Thanksgiving night, Copper was in a deep sleep on his bed by the door. Kyrstin dropped to her knees beside him, bent down to hug him, startled him and he turned and bit her in the face. She screamed and cried, yes from the pain of the bite and the blood, but more so because she knew he had would have to go. He knew right away what he had done and was VERY sorry. But just we had to send him away....but we loved him too much to have him put down. He was our family pet and he had really grown on us. We just knew this was a definite turning point in their relationship and we could not keep him any longer.
We cried into the night and into the next day when we brought him to the SPCA. Our hearts were broken. He didn’t know what was going on but we knew that if he stayed in our home another night, our hearts would soften too much and we would end up keeping him again.
Other than our dads passing away, that was one of the hardest things we’ve ever had to do. But to me it was such a comparison to God loving us too much to allow us to continue in sin. It also taught us a great deal on having to love something so much, we had to let them go in order to strengthen our own relationship. When evil is continuing to happen, God allows certain things to happen in our lives to teach us and test us, to better us and to give us opportunity for growth. We need to learn from our mistakes, and going through difficult trials is often when we learn the most. God will only allow us to repeat our mistakes enough times before something drastic needs to change. It’s not easy but if we make it through, we can glean so much out of those circumstances.
The situation also reminds me of the verse at the beginning of Romans 6 “well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness? Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?” Sooo, if God loves to forgive us, why can’t we give him more to forgive? If forgiveness is a guarantee, why wouldn’t we have the freedom to sin as much as we want? We need to realize the seriousness of sin and if we continue along in it, the consequences will be more severe. God’s forgiveness doesn’t make sin any less serious. Jesus paid with his life so that we could be forgiven. I love my child and I forgive her and the dog....but forgiveness doesn’t always remove the natural consequences that need we need to learn from in order to move on and remove harmful things in our life. God’s mercy, a parents mercy, does not become an excuse for carelessness or irresponsibility.
As another picture of God’s faithfulness, the next day I got a phone call and a friend had found a home for Copper. The woman knew of our complete circumstance, she’d owned many Beagles and knew their character. She was willing to give him a different home. The SPCA was gracious enough to let me pick him up and bring him to the new owner at no extra cost. Kyrstin was so relieved that he went to a good home to someone who knew Beagles and that he wouldn’t be caged up or put down. She felt all of this was her fault.
God is good and He cares deeply about what we care deeply about. J