I found my older dog on the porch last night in the growing darkness enduring strong winds. Very unlike her, to the point I was worried.
I spoke kindly and picked her up and brought her inside. I set her down in the foyer, but she continued to act unusual. Typically, that time of night, she's tucked in her bed, sound asleep.
"Don't you want to get in your bed?" I asked. I walked over there and lifted the dog blanket she loves. She cringed, her eyes wide.
Then I spotted it - a puddle of pee. There was the cause of her strange behavior. Why would she put herself somewhere she didn't want to be, suffering something she didn't have to suffer? Guilt.
I carried my own. I've been too hard on her. Clearly, I've yelled to much, and she feared my reaction.
I put her on the porch in the cold. My anger on some previous occasion did that. I lacked compassion. I lacked mercy, and she was afraid.
I didn't love her any less. One puddle of pee wasn't enough to make me give up on her. This year, more than anything, I am grateful she's alive.
"(For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them." (Deu 4:31)
God is unending mercy. He never runs out. He never reacts to us in any other way. When we fall, He is always there to pick us up. When we stumble, He strengthens us and points the way.
His love isn't changed by our stumbling. If anything, in our messes, it is that much stronger.
"But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." (Rm 5:8)
God loves us despite our mistakes. His forgiveness is wide and full and free.
How much more should we as His children strive to be like Him? How much more should we, His church, be unified with each other and dedicated to spreading His mercy?
Or do we yell and bicker and cause strife? Do we complain and criticize? Meanwhile, that one lost soul is crouched in the wind, hoping they don't get beaten.
As He is merciful, I will be merciful.
To the dog. To my children. To my spouse. To my friends. To the car in front of me that cut in line and slowed me.down. To the women with rambunctious children at the grocery store, making a scene. To the waitress at the restaurant. To the clerk at the convenience store.
That image of my dog out there, dreading me, will forever remain in my consciousness, and I want it there so I never forget. He was merciful to me. I will be merciful to others and so reflect Christ, who died for them as much as He died for me.
"Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Heb 2:17-18)
Image by NikolayFrolochkin from Pixabay
Suzanne D. Williams, Author www.feelgoodromance.com
Don't miss this devotional! ----->> Jesus is coming.