Monday, August 4, 2008

Another Lesson from Tiger

Sometime back I was dog sitting for some friends who had several dogs and cats. The one dog that stays inside is mean and also the smallest. My dog Tiger, was with me that week and he stays inside with me too, but he is by no means a small dog.

During the 10 days that I was there, the mean little dog took every available opportunity to aggravate Tiger. Anyone who knows Tiger knows that he is just a big strong ball of loving energy! He loves everything, both animals and people and he only wants to do two things -- cuddle and play. On numerous occasions while we have been here, I have had to stop him from trying to play with this other dog. He would make an attempt to play and the mean dog would simply growl and lunge at him.

Well, when I got home tonight and let both he and the other dog out, of course it began again. Tiger wanted to play, but the other dog did not. I'd had it. Enough already! So I said, and yes, these were my exact words, "Tiger, why do you keep pursuing him?"

I actually stopped dead in my tracks after I finished that sentence. Immediately, I heard the Lord say, "It's because of love." Okay, now barring the fact that we are talking about two dogs here, can you just see that picture? What must that kind of persistence look like in human form?

This lesson was so very prevalent in my own life at the time and yet even still, today. I had also listened while friends shared their struggles with me about this issue as well. Sometimes loving is hard, but it is also a choice. We can choose to give up trying to love others because of how difficult they can sometimes make it for us, or no matter what, we can keep loving.

Not long ago, after a particularly trying time with someone, I told the Lord, "Okay. I give up. You're going to have to show me how to love them because this isn't working." I had done all I knew to do in the way of love and yet their response back to me was anything but.

Later that evening, my heart was drawn to I Corinthians 13 because I knew the answer was there. From The Message, verse 4...Love never gives up. Wow! I got that message loud and clear. It would have been so easy for me to walk away because I knew I had given it everything within me to love this person, in spite of their treatment of me. I would've felt justified in doing so too.

However, that is not the way of love. Sooner or later, I would've also felt the coldness of my heart beginning to give way to deeper more detrimental consequences that come from not walking in love -- bitterness, resentment, woundedness, perhaps even anger. I've got enough issues! I don't need all that stuff too!!!

That is the bottom line though. Isn't it? As a friend of mine used to say all the time, "We all have issues and we all need counseling." I'd like to modify that a bit and say that, we all have issues and we all need someone to love us through them!

The truth is, people sometimes respond to us out of their woundedness, their pain, their fears and even their disappointments. Yet we have a choice. Will we continue to love or will we choose to walk away and give our love to those who won't fight as hard to receive it? I love what The Message goes onto say about love.

"Always looks for the best. Never looks back, but keeps going to the end. Love never dies."

I want to love like that. My dog does! Isn't he amazing?