Illustrated by my beautiful niece, Kasandra Ford

We have a dog…his name is Sparky.  My husband and I never thought we’d have a dog or any pet for that matter.  However, someone found this cute little ball of fur on the side of the road and posted a picture of him and we all just fell in love.  We did research the best we knew how…GOOGLED IT…and it looked as though this type of dog wouldn’t get too big or shed too much.

Soooo now we have a massive Border Collie/Pyrenees mix that sheds ALL OVER the place AND thinks our 8 year old son is in his pack!  He’s really a pretty good dog except for the fact that when he wants to play, he plays like a pack dog would, so he’s nipping and growling at our son.  Not cool!

Well the other day (just like any other day) he’s trying to “play” with my son and I get really angry and yell “STOP!” then I tap him on the nose and throw him outside.  (He weighs at least 100 pounds now so it was more like I pushed or scooted him outside).  However, at that moment (unlike all the other times), I heard God say to me, “How are you going to love people who KNOW they are doing wrong, when you get so mad at your dog who doesn’t EVEN KNOW that what he is doing is wrong?”  I know that sounds crazy….but it was a huge heart check for me.  Yes, I was trying to protect my child, but there was no compassion, no gentle correction, no training, just wrath and that’s how I was treating people too!

I’ve always known that God has called us to love everyone.  I’ve even “preached” it.  Hate the sin, but love the sinner.  However, I wasn’t really DOING it.  I believe there was a huge lack of compassion there…especially for those who KNEW they were doing wrong.  Before this “revelation”, my conversation with God could have been something like this:

Me: “Really God?  It’s a bold faced lie and I’m just supposed to show them love?”
God: “YES!”
Me: “Okay, but I hope something bad happens so they learn their lesson”.
God:  “Well, I’d like them to learn their lesson WITHOUT something bad happening.”
Me: “But then they would just get away with lying to me”.
God: “You? What do they owe to YOU?”

Yeah….ouch!  If there is a lack of loving others, it stems from pride. I mean, think about it…the fall of man began with pride.  Besides, I’d be fooling myself if I said I had never lied to God or willingly sinned and guess what…He STILL loves me.  He still shows me compassion and favor.  He is humble, gentle and caring.

Oh Father, show me how to love like you do!  Show me how to display love like Jesus did when He walked this earth.   Let my heart overflow with compassion for those being attacked by evil…EVEN THOSE who surround themselves with it intentionally.  Let me look upon each of YOUR created masterpieces with admiration and love, seeing them for who YOU created them to be.  When someone is about to trap themselves in a lie, give me the desire to FREE them instead of catching them.  You never desire for us to fail so that we may learn.  Your plan for us is to succeed WITHOUT disaster.  Thank you Father!  In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Romans 12:10

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” –  1 John 4:7-8

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