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Monday, August 5, 2013

God's Grace is Like a...DOG?

Discipline is a daily topic in a house with a toddler.

On any given day you can hear a conversation similar to this:

Tell mommy why you got a time out.”

I hit Liberty” (Our dog).

I told you that if you hit her, you’d get a time out, but you did it anyway. Tell her you’re sorry for hitting her.”

He bends down and curls his little fists into her hair and whispers, “I’m sorry, Liberty.”

Liberty licks his tiny face sending peels of delight echoing throughout our house. 

Before the teaching moment is completely gone, I try one last time to make sure he understands why he had to sit in the corner. “If you hit her again, you get another time out. Understand?”

He hangs his little head but an impish grin peeks out as he says, “Okay”. 

Before long we have a similar conversation about pulling the dogs hair.

Through it all, Liberty remains by his side.

She doesn’t require an apology.

She doesn’t demand “justice”, “fairness” or “punishment”.

And she doesn’t hold a grudge.

Nope. She shows total and complete GRACE.

She loves my son no matter how roughly he treats her.

She sticks by his side even when it’s not pleasant.

Now that is unconditional love.

Her expressions of love, devotion and grace blow me away.

How often do I treat God the way my son treats the dog? 

While I don’t pull God’s hair or smack him upside the head, I can’t say my treatment is gentle at times.

Yet no matter how ugly I act, God is here, ready and willing to forgive and restore the relationship.

All this reminds me of the story of the adulterous woman and Jesus.

After all her accusers left, He told her to “go and sin no more” (John 8:11)


Notice Jesus didn’t try to get “one more teaching moment in”. 

She knew what she’d done. She didn’t need a reminder. 

She didn’t need someone like ME saying, “Do you know why they were about to stone you to death? Do you realize I could have just let that happen, it was justified? You better straighten up or next time you might get hit a few times before I come to your rescue.” 

Nope. She didn’t need any of that. What she needed was grace.

Good thing those people brought her to Jesus and not me. I would have wanted to lecture her before sending her away.

Now, my son is a toddler. I have to teach him right from wrong; it’s part of my job as a parent.

It’s not my job however to “teach” others.

I’m not called to judge sinners, but to love them.

In 2 Tim 2:1 we are told to be “strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”

Strong in grace…

My dog’s teaching me daily about that type of grace.

That’s the type of grace Christ extends. It’s the type of grace He wants us to extend as well.

Everyone sins…but only God is able to rightly judge and instruct.

Let’s let God, be God.

Let’s let God be our parent and discipline each individual as He knows best instead of being the big sister/brother who wants to stick our noses where they don’t belong (Proverbs 3:11-12)

Discipline is good (for those who learn from it- Proverbs 15:5) but it’s not up to us to discipline the world. 

We are called to give unconditional love- to shine HIS light.

If you have difficulty understanding God’s unmerited devotion, just spend some time around a toddler and a dog. It’s more than words can express.

It’s GRACE.  

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