I have a little dog that looks like a poster pup for the humane society.
She has long ears that stick up above her thin bristled curls, which can’t seem to agree on what direction to go. Her eyes are so big that I’m not sure her eyelids haven’t given up trying cover them. Let’s just say she has looks only a parent (adopted or otherwise) could love.
Her name is Wilma. Wilma Jean if she’s naughty.
And believe me, she’s naughty, but she’s just so “zisstable” (that’s Wilma talk for irresistible) and that is how it usually plays out.
Scene: I’m standing at the kitchen sink intently moving dirty plates around so I can find the garbage disposal. Wilma approaches from my right, looks at me, sees I’m busy, then jumps up onto the dining room chair. After another quick confirmation that I’m still not looking, she is up on the table looking through crumbs and crafts to find a treasure. I turn, just in time to catch her in the act, and screech in my best Marge Simpson voice,
What are you doing on that table?”
Now, you’d think that she would jump off like any sensible dog caught red handed, but she starts out with a tremor, and shaking, she tucks her tail, and puts down her back end, while lowering her head to look at me with her signature puppy dog eyes. At the same time her ears lie down, and silently plead for mercy, as she tilts her head and pleads the fifth. Who says dogs don’t cry?
Cue Sarah MacLaughlin In the Arms of the Angels!
I’m so overwhelmed by her broken and contrite heart that I cannot despise. I pick her up in my arms and pull her close to me as I start kissing her on the face saying, “You’re a bad girl Wilma Jean, but I love you anyway.”
Wilma Jean knows how to own up to her own inability to do what she knows she needs to do. It’s as if she has figured out that there is no condemnation for those who are in our home, and she’s right: if you confess your sins, we are faithful and just to forgive you your sins, because if I’m so faithful and just to my oversized drowned rat, how much more faithful and just will be my God?
Ha Ha! It’s a parable!
But you probably caught that.
Sometimes I doubt God’s ability or desire to forgive me, and so I reserve my sins to one side of my life and keep dusting and organizing them like the porcelain knick-knacks that I’ve collected over the years, refusing to admit that they are really just little piles of poo that I’ve dropped, and refused to clean up. It’s overwhelming managing all my sins, keeping them under-wraps, and under-control, and they naturally add to the overwhelming feeling that it’s hard being me.
I remember a few years ago when I eventually realized that I was harsh and judgmental. I guess turnabout is fair-play, because boy was I harsh and judgmental with myself for a change.
“How can I be such a jerk and be a Christian?” I cried to my husband.
He assured me that it was easy, and I quickly said, “Then I need a change!” But there was nothing quick about it. God had turned on the lights to show me my ugly self, and like Eve I wanted to sew a foliage bikini and hide behind the bushes. I didn’t understand how I could know so much and get it so wrong, and I couldn’t see how God could forgive me.
I think it’s easier for me to see salvation for others than for myself sometimes. Must have to do with my inherent sense of pride, “I ought to be better than this!” I subconsciously reason, and because I ought to know better, I don’t deserve grace, but when others are contrite, and confessing their sins I am the first to tell them about God’s amazing grace. Boy, I sure can hand it out, but I can’t take it!
I guess that’s why it’s so hard being me, because I ought to know better. I don’t have any patience for my inability to be perfect. The dishes don’t have to be perfect, my bed doesn’t have to be made perfectly, but I better be perfect, because perfect is the best me I can be, and I’ve always wanted to be the best.
Do you believe that God can forgive any and all of your sins?
Let me help you answer that. In 1 John 1:9 it says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
In an effort to never call God a liar, in both private and public, I have determined to be free with the confession of my sins. Not that I am proud of them, but that I agree with his word, that all have sinned and will continue to sin, and because of that I need a constant supply of his grace. Only when I have stopped sinning, can I say I no longer need access to His grace.
That’s why I can totally relate to my sweet little mangy, guilty, and contrite canine.
Just call me Hayley Jean.