Anyone who knows us knows our two dogs, Chester (who is about 7 years old) and Charlie (almost 5 months old). They have a love/hate relationship. Chester hates for Charlie to bug him and take his bones, and Charlie loves to bug Chester and take his bones. Charlie also has a favorite dog bed to try to pull the stuffing out of which of course, is the bed Chester most likes to lay on because it is soft and fluffy. Charlie is at the stage where he has a toddler brain and a teenage body, and as he is a bigger dog he flops that around a lot. Chester on the other hand is a couple inches shorter than Charlie, has a middle aged body with aches, pains and some pudge, and an old man temperament….well, towards Charlie, anyway. He’s always sweet with us.
That all being said, I watched them this morning and realized what a picture they paint of people. Chester lay on the fluffy bed with his chewy horn (of which there are two so they both can have one) and suddenly Charlie just can’t stand it. He must have the chewy horn of Chester’s. His own chewy horn just isn’t good enough. He must nuzzle the bed in case I’m not looking just in case he can get a little chew on that in. He lay there, eyes fixated on that horn, inches away from the bed, and began to complain. His complaint got louder until it became a bark, and Chester just chewed on, not caring that his horn was wanted by another. Charlie edged closer. My “no!” was pretty much ignored. Whine. Whine. WHINE. BARK! “NO!” This pattern went on for a few minutes until I distracted him with something else. That lasted about 10 seconds, and back to staring position/whine/bark. Surely the horn that Chester had was more special than his, more tasty, flavorful, delicious, and most certainly more desirable than his own. And Charlie edged closer, closer, closer, despite the redirection, despite the sharp no. Chester looked at him with a look of resignation, got up and Charlie jumped at the chance to get in that fluffy bed and take that exceptional chewie horn.
Less than one minute later, he was after Chester trying to get the other chewie horn that he now had (which was not the same one that one on the fluffy bed, but the one Charlie ignored because he wanted Chester’s).
We are so much like that. We look at what someone else has so intently we lose focus on what we already have. We stare at it, we edge closer to the thought of how much nicer/better what ”they” have is. We know better, we know it doesn’t make any sense, we know what we have is sufficient. And when the opportunity presents itself, no matter what the cost, we jump at it and claim our prize…which under close scrutiny isn’t all that prize worthy after all, and hey, look over there at what they have…..
We’re the same way with sin. Creeping closer to what we ought not have (which we’ve been warned to stay away from for our own good). Catching sight of whatever it is that is tempting us and blaming the internet, or advertising, or whatever for allowing our flesh to get a hold of us because, of course, a sharp “no!” from scripture or from our own heart just isn’t enough to pull us away if we really don’t want to pull away. And then when we succumb it’s never enough. We want more, we want different, and most of all we don’t want to suffer or deal with consequences for doing so.
Yet, no is no.
Charlie gets put into doggie time out (separated from everything by a baby gate that holds him in the kitchen). Chester who is usually a good boy, because Charlie is locked away in the room with food and water, has to do without (suffer) because of another’s behavior and the same thing happens with us. When we don’t do things as we should, or we allow ourselves to get into sins that we know better than to do so, everyone around us suffers – and most of the time they are innocent. We never do anything alone, no matter what we might think.
I just came back to the livingroom and Charlie is in my chair, looking up at me with big brown eyes. Trying to take the place of the boss. That’s a story for another day but you can guess where that’s going.