I John 1:5 says, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” Wish I could say that about myself. Instead, I regularly confess shades of sin to God and to others whom I have wronged so that God, who “is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” will send His grace and mercy to this repentant heart. (John 1:9). Blatant sin such as thefts, murders, and adultery may not be on my conscious, but the Holy Spirit is quick to convict me of blaming others, acting self-righteous or lacking faith. But what about defenses buried in sin that are unrecognizable until after they bite?
I came home from work the other day, glad for another blessed Friday. My elevated mood sparked my interest in making a real meal, not just the casual, lazy, Friday night fare of pizza and hot wings. Hubby heard me singing along with the radio, and I knew he was smiling before he poked his head around the corner to tell me hello. He let our small dog out of the cozy room among the laundry appliances and linen soaps. Seeing that smash-nosed, bow-legged, 16 pounds of lion-hearted loyalty, added to the promise of peace and harmony for the weekend. Yet when I reached down to kiss his silky head, our family pet violently, and without warning, bit me on the face. The shock of teeth penetrating skin was nothing compared to the painful reality that my 11 year-old friend had turned on me. The rest of the evening was a shambles caring for my wounded cheek and rationalizing the unexpected attack. Was he in physical pain? Is his advancing age a factor? What is the risk of repeated dog biting behavior? My husband and I talked about our fear that the dog would do the same or worse to our grandchild or other visiting family and friends.
Upon awakening the next morning, and after a sickening dream of giving poison to a guinea pig (go figure), the emotional jet lag felt defeating, and I sought consolation through the Word of God. As I meditated, the smog of confusion cleared and I felt convicted of sin – the sin of neglect.
Vignettes of a dog’s life played in my head. Especially over the last three months, I had not spent quantity or quality time with my canine friend. I rarely walked him. He was not allowed to be in the living room with us in our new house. I had developed a low tolerance for frustration which caused me to shoo the little guy out of the kitchen regularly so that he wouldn’t be under my feet or be a nuisance at the table. The story of neglect continued to play. Where once my dog would find a corner to curl up wherever I was, he now chose to stay in his own room. Instead of lying beside me feet, he preferred to be near my husband. He stopped asking for the treats that rarely came from me. I believe that God showed me that the sin of neglect was a contributing factor of my dog, old and blind in one eye, perhaps not knowing me at the moment he literally snapped.
“O Lord, how great are your works! Your thoughts are very deep. A senseless man does not know, nor does a fool understand this. When the wicked spring up like grass and when all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they may be destroyed forever,” (Psalm 92:5-7). Lord, I can see how the sin of neglect sprang up and is a microcosm of relationships in my life that have long-since dissipated or relatives who no longer expect more than a hastily signed Christmas card once a year. I pray that the sin of neglect is destroyed once and for all by revelation, correction, and restoration. Through Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen!