How many times should I let my old dog pee on the floor before I insist she wear a diaper? Ten? Fifty? Never? If I forgive her for wetting my rug, does that mean I also have to accept the yellow stains as part of the décor? And why, after all these years, has this smelly mutt decided now is the time to begin relieving herself by my footstool? These are important questions — questions to which the Internet offers no clear answers.
I learn a lot about myself from my dog. For example, I suspect God views my intentional “messes” and thinks: “Wow, Eddie, did you think I wouldn’t notice?” Then, through circumstances, a chastening word from a friend, or a Bible verse, I’m “crated” for a time. Cool thing is, when I climb into His lap and apologize . . . and mean it . . . our relationship is restored.
Until I mess up again.
In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part. Matthew 6:14 The Message (MSG)
Jesus makes clear that to the degree we forgive others, we will also be forgiven. Almost makes it sound like conditional salvation. But what I think Christ really means is, the way we treat others reflects the degree of gratitude we have toward God. He who has been forgiven much, loves much . . . and so on.
Next week we leave for an extended vacation to California. Because of her bladder issues (or simply bad behavior), Sandy Beach will have to spend her days in a crate. I hate that for her. Until a few months ago the dog had the run of the house. I forgive Sandy for messing on the carpet, but I can’t abide by a dog that does her business on the living room floor.
Human perfection can only be found in a relationship with God based upon the saving blood of Christ. This, I keep in mind every time I fold a paper towel and soak up Sandy’s yellow stain. She’s not perfect; neither am I. We both leave our mark on others.
May we go and ask forgiveness of those we have offended . . . and likewise forgive others.