As I was saying goodbye to my husband the other morning, the dog shot out of the door and cornered a green parrot (locally known as a 28) under the bushes, badly injuring it. After initially trying to save the poor bird, I realised it was past help and I let Carrie finish the job rather than have the parrot suffer indefinitely.
My dachshund not only killed the bird, she ate the whole thing, head, feet, feathers and all, apart from about six wing feathers.
I was shocked! Here is my little, cute lap dog behaving like a wild animal. My pet that eats tit-bits from my hand was unceremoniously ripping the head off a bird and chewing enthusiastically on its innards!
It reminded me that all dogs, no matter the breed, are originally descended from wolves. Although we can tame them, teach them tricks and dress them in pink collars, they are, underneath it all, still controlled by primeval impulses.
The same is true for me really. Although I have been a Christian for decades, it doesn’t take much for my “fleshly nature” to surface again. Just the right combination of tiredness, frustration, unmet expectations or low blood sugar, and a harsh word, an expletive, a rush of rage, or some very prideful, judgemental thought gushes up.
It is usually quickly followed by shame and remorse, and I pray for forgiveness. However, I am left very much aware that “sin is [ever] crouching at the door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it” (Genesis 4:7) and that I need to constantly submit myself to God and resist the devil (James 4:7).
We need God’s power and grace daily to fight the temptation to fall back into instinctual patterns of behaviour, and to respond to others with love rather than our own selfishness. Our salvation (rescue from the consequences of our sin) happens instantly when we ask for it, but our sanctification (rescue from the power of sin in our lives) takes a lifetime and is only fully accomplished when we die and our spirits are finally liberated from our flesh and its desires.
Next time I become enamoured of my own goodness or judge others harshly, may I remember my sausage dog with a mouth full of feathers and blush. How easily we can default to our baser nature. There but for the grace of God go I.
Therefore, let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)