Rover Knows Best
By Candace McQuain –
Take a lesson from a dog. Yes, a dog.
For anyone who has ever owned one, you know exactly what I mean. Dogs love their owners unconditionally. Dogs love their owners no matter what. They never get angry, hold resentment or turn their back on the ones they love. They only have one behavioral mode when it comes to their owners and that is to love them unconditionally.
Now when it comes to chewing up your favorite pair of shoes or messing in the house, well that’s a whole other story.
Just as with His canine creation, God has equipped His children to have that same capability to love unconditionally. He has pre-programmed our hearts with this ability and has provided very clear instruction on how to use it. Romans 12 (NIV) is sprinkled with powerful messages of unconditional love. Verse 10 states, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” Verse 16 says, “Live in harmony with one another.” Then there is Ephesians 4:31-33 (NIV), which brings it all home, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (emphasis mine). I wish I had known these incredibly relevant pieces of Scripture the many times I spoke out of anger, held harsh grudges and judged people as if I were God himself.
Why do we do this to others and ourselves?
Pride can make it very difficult to admit when we are wrong or apologize without a “but.” For me, when I apologized with a “but,” what I was saying was, “Yes I’m sorry and I love you, but I had good reason for doing what I did.” The truth is, there is never a good reason to hurt anyone. Sincerely apologizing and asking for forgiveness will not only heal a wound you didn’t think was healable but it is what God expects from us.
On the flip side, maybe the area you struggle with is forgiving others. Sometimes we find it’s just easier to hold on to the resentment. If we forgive, we give up the right to retaliate and our weary heart could be exposed to more hurt.
Thank goodness our God does not think along these lines and that when we go to Him for forgiveness and love, we get it, and it doesn’t come with a “but.” Letting go of resentment and opening our hearts should not be a hindrance, but God-given relief.
Through God we have the power to transform relationships, and forgiveness is at the core of that transformation, and that my friend, is love that is clearly unconditional. I believe good ole’ Rover would agree.