Saturday, January 24, 2009

We're not God's posse

I'm upstairs folding laundry when I heard a thud from the kitchen, followed by a high-pitched "Woof!" from Scout that can only mean one thing: the cat is in the garbage again.

In our house, it's the cat that causes most of the trouble, and Murphy has a penchant for garbage. He's constantly batting at the pail until it tips, and then crawling inside to find a treat.

Scout knows this is bad, because whenever Murphy gets into the garbage, I yell "MURPHY!" and chase the cat out of the kitchen. Being a border collie, Scout has put two and two together and now recognizes any time the cat is doing something he shouldn't - jumping onto the counter, messing around with the hamster cage, and yes, tipping over the garbage. Scout gives a warning "Woof!" and waits for me to yell, "MURPHY", after which he takes off after the cat in his self-proclaimed role as administer of justice.

I don't really need Scout to chase Murphy. I do appreciate the head's up when the cat it getting into trouble. But sometimes Scout goes overboard. Instead of just chasing the cat away, he ends up pinning Murphy down and getting his jaws around the cat's entire head. Before I know it the cat is soaking wet with dog slobber and we've got a wrestling match on our hands. I'm afraid someone is going to get hurt.

The whole thing reminds me of the way some Christians treat non Christians. We see someone doing something we think is wrong, and we're quick to give chase in an attempt to pin them down and show them the error of their ways. It's the "I'll get you saved if I have to hog tie you and hold your feet to the fire" mentality.

It's important to remember that yes, we have a responsibility as Christians to speak the truth. But we don't need to be appoint ourselves God's judge, jury and executioner, figuratively speaking.

That's a lesson Scout is learning. Rather than apprehend Murphy over every infraction, Scout has learned to nudge him away from whatever he's into. When that does't work, Scout gives me the warning "Woof!", then wait for his cue to give chase if needed.

And that's what we need to do. Speak the truth in love and let the Holy Spirit convict the world of its sin.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What dogs do on New Years day

It's New Year's Day, and most of us are contemplating what we should or could be doing in the coming year. We're reevaluating the past 12 months, setting goals, resolving to get ourselves together, and generally taking stock of life.

Scout, on the other hand, has spent the day doing exactly what he did yesterday: eating, slobbering on the cat, pestering me to go outside and p-l-a-y in the s-n-o-w, and napping. He doesn't worry if his goals aren't met - although he's a bit antsy if we don't get some play time in, what with the fresh snowbanks and all. In fact, he doesn't even have any goals. He just gets up and does whatever he does that day.

We get so worried sometimes about the future that we miss today, and we plan for things that are totally out of our control and then get frustrated when they don't happen.

I wonder how much happier we'd be if we stopped worrying so much about what we'd like to do or plan to do or feel like we have to do, and instead just did was on our plate each day. Curl up for a good night's sleep with someone we love. Take advantage of a rousing round of catch in some fresh air. And spend the day following our Master around to see what adventure He has lined up.