The Great Spiritual Teaching Of My Dog

This is my dog Riley. He’s a Pointer Mix. He’s highly neurotic, he has abandonment issues, he fights with blankets, I swear he communicates with me (he’ll sigh after every time I make a point). He’s my true man crush. I love him with every fiber of my being.

I have a personality trait called a Highly-Sensitive Person. It basically means that my senses, my emotions are on stimulant overload. What feels good to most people, feels extraordinary for me. What feels bad for most people, feels like despair to me. It comes off like Bi-Polar, except for the fact that my hearing, my vision, my taste, my smell, my touch, are also extremely heightened.

Riley has a shrieking bark. When he barks, it causes me head to ache momentarily. His bark has caused me to become extremely agitated. This week I was raking some leaves when he began barking at someone who was walking past us. I momentarily got upset. Then it dawned upon me… What do dogs do? Dogs bark. Riley, is just being Riley. A dog, is just being a dog. In all of his awkward beauty, he is just being him. And, God gains glory and is delighted in him being him, quirks and all. He loves and accepts him for who he is.

I am Mike. I have some serious character flaws. I have some real bad habits. And. yet God loves and accepts me for me. I can love and accept these shortcomings, and not hate them, because I am just being Mike (don’t blow this logic out of proportion). I don’t have to hate my sin, I have to be aware of it, accept it, and eventually move on (transformation takes a long time).

Riley, is Riley.

Mike, is Mike.

For better or worse, that’s enough.


8 thoughts on “The Great Spiritual Teaching Of My Dog

  1. Gary C. says:

    Wow. So true. I think half of the depression and despair experienced by Christians has to do with not yet reaching the conclusion you just explained. Blessings.

  2. Victoria says:

    I’ve been told that animals don’t have souls. I can’t imagine a heaven without my best friend, Tank. Dogs are the purest expression of unconditional love. It’s hard for me to think of him as “just a dog.”

  3. Brittany says:

    I just read this out loud to mom. Guess who made a little woof?? RILEY

  4. Mike this post really bothers me. I think a discussion in person would be extremely beneficial. 🙂 What bothers me isn’t the crazy pet love or the thought that dogs actually do go to heaven it is your comment on sin. “I don’t have to hate my sin”, Does God hate sin? Proverbs 6:16-19 suggests that he does. If God hates sin then why should we accept it? The biggest issue with current Evangelicalism is that they are not concerned enough about holiness and repenting from their sin. Most either ignore it or down play it.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I love when our pets can teach us about ourselves and God. You never expect it, but they honestly can provide a lot of insight.

    I agree that we should hate our sin, but in a lot of people I see hating our sin turn into hating ourself because of our sin. I’ve seen people beat themselves up because of their sin and not show themselves any grace. God shows us love and grace despite our sin, so maybe we should dot he same for ourselves.

  6. Victoria says:

    I agree with Stephanie. The one thing that has always driven me away from church (and God) is the awful feeling that I can never get it right. No matter how hard I try, I fail. I’ve ended up hating myself for my inability to measure up to the “perfect” Christians, who flaunt their “righteousness” and always have something to say about the other person’s sin.

    If you love God, which I do, you don’t want to do anything that will keep you from Him. But being human, we are bound to fail — to sin. Yes, God hates sin. He hates it so much He can’t be in the presence of it. It seems a little like a set-up to me. It could drive you crazy. I do the best I can and leave the rest up to Him.

  7. Stephanie and Victoria I completely see your points. The answer to the issue isn’t trying to do everything right but rather trusting in the sacrifice of Christ which in turn makes his children righteous befiore Gods sight. If you are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus then God does not take your sin into account. That is the beauty of Christianity. It isn’t by our doing or our righteousness but rather its only by Christ’s that we can be saved and cleansed from our sin.

  8. Hey Mike. You are cool. Keep writing.

    And thanks. God created me, quirks and all; He loves me & accepts me. I think I’ve come to realise now, if God accepts me – then I should too.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

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