We sure love our pets, from dogs and cats to parakeets, tropical fish and hamsters. As parents of three children and grandparents of eleven, I understand the attraction. As empty nesters our little black dachshund Princess has filled our hearts and home with indescribable joy, frequent smiles and too often frustration from you-know-what and totally unnecessary barking. She would be the ultimate church greeter. She loves everyone! If a robber came to our home, after first barking, she would then proceed to lick them to death, tail wagging – make that a hot dog, long body wiggling.
Princess is always so excited when we come home even if we just went out into the garage to check on something. You would think we had been gone for days. She is always glad to be with us and sad when she is not. Sounds a lot like first love, doesn’t it? Pets can show us how we should always love to abide in God’s presence. Pets certainly don’t do everything right, but they obviously love us unconditionally. It seems, oftentimes, even the smallest dog would fight a bear or a lion trying to protect us.
I love her laying on my chest with those big, brown eyes staring a hole in me. I am certain she is just admiring me. Don’t we love it! If you have a dog or a cat, you know that feeling you get when they sit at your feet just staring. No meow or bark is necessary; we know they want something, usually a treat, or perhaps just attention or to play, or, on occasion, a real need like fresh water or food.
Somehow I think our intent look into the very face of God with deep, inner longing would speak much louder to Him than so much pleading and begging. Our fixation on Him would confirm our absolute faith and confidence in His ability to do all things well and meet every legitimate need. We all need to readjust our focus. May God help us all to fix our eyes on the standard so we can plow through life without wavering from side to side because of meaningless, even damaging distractions and attractions.
Let me get back to the title – pets are much easier to love than some people. Remember, pets annoy when they needlessly bark or relieve themselves at the wrong times in the wrong places. There are ways, however, to stop it or easily clean up the mess. But with people it is totally different. Many make so much annoying noise, always complaining, criticizing, begging, belly-aching, refusing personal responsibility, blaming others, and being ungrateful. Come to think of it, we’ve never heard Princess even yelp a “thank you,” but we can tell she appreciates the help. This is more than you can say for much of the U.S. population. Sad, but true. It is a fact many people who have succeeded seem to be controlled by greed. On the other side, however, you seldom hear people expressing gratitude for the hard-working Americans, including the business community who pay the majority of taxes that enable assistance to be offered and legitimate needs met. There is actually a hostility being encouraged toward the producers of opportunity, needed products and prosperity.
People are too often rude, impatient, lovers of themselves, lovers of stuff more than people, full of envy, jealous, disobedient to parents, disrespectful, unloving, unholy, without self-control, haters of good, conceited, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God, holding to a form of godliness while denying His power. Oops, starting to sound like Paul writing to Timothy.1 Excuse me! Oh well, the Bible says this is how it is in the last day and it is tough to love people who don’t seem to do things right, but also couldn’t seem to care less. Don’t you agree when you observe the actions of many people that it’s easier to love pets?
What are we to do? Here is God’s answer: Trust Him for a miracle of love and grace and remember that but for His grace, there go we. Such were some of us before Christ.2 Even now it is easy to go back to the ways of the world, especially when we take a serious look at those we are commanded to love. It is also difficult when the siren call of this world’s atmosphere influences and invites us continually to walk in the ways of rebellion and self-centeredness. It is endless and too often filled with seemingly attractive clatter.
Our only hope is God’s help, which He freely offers if we will accept it. By God’s grace I have and I will. It is not only difficult, but it is absolutely impossible to properly love others as we should unless we seek and allow God’s help.
Let’s pray together that God will grant us the grace to love people more than pets – as tough as that may be. Remember, “With God all things are possible” and “love never fails.” Amazingly, God continues to give me love for those in dire circumstances and also for those whose ways I do not care for and find difficult to understand. I am grateful for the prayers and support of many friends who faithfully join with us to freely share the love of God and relieve the suffering.
2 1 Corinthians 6:9-11