Wednesday, June 14, 2017


One of our previous dogs, Sophie Mae, reached adult behavior by 6 months of age. If she wanted to chew on something like a chair leg, I’d just give her a chew toy instead and say, “Sophie’s toy.” She’d look at me with a face that said, “well, alright, do you think I’m stupid?” When I told her “good girl, all is forgiven,” she’d say, “oh goodie, let’s play ball!  The problem never presented itself again, as she took correction as instruction, learned from it, and went happily on her way. 

Lily Rose, on the other hand, was such a sensitive little soul. She was so aware of everything she had ever done that she lived in fear of being murdered by me, which is silly, ’cause I never murdered her, not even once. Not when she chewed furniture or shoes. Not when she visited the kitty box looking for a midnight buffet. Not when she shredded toilet paper all over the house.

Lily’s way of dealing with anxieties, after destroying something, was to hurl herself on her back and go into leg-kicking spasms of guilt while shrieking, “forgive me, don’t kill me!” Even though I was far from happy about her escapades, we kept working on the anxieties and after a couple of years, the destructive tendencies subsided. But through her life, she absorbed and held onto everything that she, or Sophie, or every dog in the world, has done wrong, living in a constant state of self-imposed guilt and unforgiveness, spasming on the floor at the least little thing, sometimes for hours, laying there on her back, internally screaming “I'm horrible, don't look at me!” She never truly believed she was forgiven, even as I’m saying, “let’s play ball.” She’s saying, “no, I can’t play! I can’t forgive myself!.”

Which has led me to think about stuff in my own life that I’ve thought I couldn’t forgive myself for. Imagine my surprise the day I realized that God never says anything about that. Because it’s not my job to forgive me. It’s already accomplished! If I insist on wallowing in my sin, I can’t commune with other believers, and I can’t fellowship with God. Because of what Christ has done on the cross, all my sins have been permanently forgiven (Luke 5:20; 1 John 2:12) and I'm reconciled to God. If I selfishly insist on wallowing in my already-forgiven sin, I’m telling Him that what He did isn’t good enough, that instead I still have to fix things for myself. I'm ignoring the obvious -- that “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).

Thank You, my Jesus, that because of Your perfect work on the cross, I can move on in joyful communion with You. If all I do is concentrate on my past sins, or how I might sin tomorrow, I’m fixing my eyes on myself, when I should be focusing on You (Hebrews 12:2).  I do still sin, but upon repentance and asking for Your forgiveness, I truly believe that I'm forgiven because You said so (1 John 1:9), not based upon my own flawed feelings. Because of that, I can experience daily freedom, joy, and the peace that only You can give (John 14:27).


  1. I think that I needed to see this one about forgiveness

  2. I need to be reminded of this on a regular basis. Though I know that God has forgiven me, I do find it difficult to forgive myself of any sort of sin in my life. However, God does not call us to wallow in self-pity. Thank you so much for your post.

  3. This is so true. Our sins were forgiven the day he died on that tree. Sometimes it is so easy to beat ourselves up and live in regret. Talking from personal experience it is so hard sometimes to just move on from what we did because we think that what we did is so unforgivable. Nice post.

  4. Being an animal lover, I love this! Shared it on to my Grandma Mary Martha blogger facebook page.