Lessons From a Little Dog
I had a little dog once, his name was Ringo and oh… I loved that dog. He knew all of my secrets and he was the most patient and understanding dog I think I ever had. He just seemed to know, (you dog lovers know what I mean).
Well I rushed home from school one day when I was 17 because my mother and step father had picked Ringo up from the vet where he had just spent the last five days recovering after a pretty extensive surgery. The last time I had seen him was the day I dropped him off at the Brandon veterinary clinic. He had been in so much pain for the two nights before that that my mom and I had stayed up holding him until he fell asleep in our arms. So I was looking forward to seeing him all fixed up.
I came into the house and sat in my favorite chair by the phone and I called him. He came in the room and went to my stepfather and then went and sat beside the fridge. I called him a few more times and he just looked the other way. This wasn’t his usual response to me at all, he always came running when I called him.
But not this time, no matter what I did he wouldn’t come to me. So I went over and picked him up and went back to my spot by the phone.
I looked at him and his head was turned away towards the wall.
“Are you mad at me?” I asked. He didn’t turn his head.
I took my fingers and turned his face toward me and he turned back towards the wall. I did it again. He turned his head to look at the wall again.
“I think he’s mad at me.” I said.
So I turned his little face again and he turned it back towards the wall.
“He is mad at me,” I said, “probably for leaving him in that nasty place where they hurt him more than he was already hurting. He didn’t know I was trying to help him.”
“Probably,” mom said, “he was probably thinking about how you left him there for the last 5 days.”
I said in a playful voice. “You can’t stay mad at me.” And I turned his face towards me again. And he licked my face and we were fine after that.
I said all of that to say my dog was holding a grudge and what would his life have been like if he had have kept that grudge? It never would have been the same again for either of us.
God doesn’t want us to hold a grudge either. Carrying anger, hurt and resentment can wound us more than we know. Not only can they keep us away from people (which in some cases is a good thing) but it can have very negative reactions as well. We can isolate ourselves. We can become bitter and our health can suffer for it. It can also keep us from advancing with God and having our prayers answered.
Matthew 6:14-15 14 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses.
Mark 11:25 is the condition set for Mark 11:23-24 (above) and the results for these verses can be amazing.
Mark 11:23-24 23 For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.
He wants us to give the problem and the person to Him to deal with. Give them to the courtrooms of heaven and let God be your avenger.
Romans 12:19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,”[a] says the Lord.
It is tempting, if we haven’t truly forgiven, to watch a person who has wronged us end up in trouble and we feel a sense of superiority or triumph, this too shouldn’t happen. (Even though the thought of it feels satisfying somehow.) God doesn’t want us to delight in others failures no matter if they have hurt us or not.
Proverbs 24:17-18 Do not rejoice when your enemy falls,
And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles;
18 Lest the Lord see it, and it displease Him,
And He turn away His wrath from him.
My goal is to be as close to God as I can be with nothing standing between us. I want Him to work His plan for me out in my life and I want my prayers to be answered so I want to live His way. And this has brought adventure and freedom in my life. Freedom from anger, envy, strife and resentment. It is an adventure everyday as I live out His plan for my life.