Faces on Faith: Sick dogs and muddy hogs
I love how the Bible is so practical and so honest. It tells it like it is. Peter in his little letter found in the New Testament wrote this proverb: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.” (2 Peter 2:22) Of course Peter being a good Jewish young man was quoting from Proverbs where it says, “Like a dog that returns to his vomit, so is a fool who repeats his folly.” (Proverbs 26:11). Having grown up on the farm in Missouri, I have had first hand opportunity to see both the dog and the sow do just what Peter describedand it is not pretty.
But it is equally disturbing to see the fool continue to repeat his or her folly! (I know it “stinks” when I do). Several years ago I had a friend who was really struggling with smoking. I asked him, “So, can’t you quit?” He said, “Sure I can. I have many times.” Even though he really wanted to quitand even though he was already beginning to suffer many health issues because of smoking, he kept coming back to “wallow in the mire.” A woman came to me in her third “bad marriage” and in great frustration she said, “All three men are alcoholics. I don’t know why I keep going back to alcoholics!”
Now, I am sure there are some clear psychological issues that get us caught up in addictions, or simply repetitive destructive foolish behaviors. The Bible talks about it as our “bent to sin.” We need supernatural help, and that help is available with the support of the Church, the truth and wise advice of the Bible, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and the forgiveness afforded us by what Jesus did on the cross. But foolishly we turn to self-help rather than Godand self-help is what got us in the jam in the first place.
The Apostle Paul, a devout Jewish Pharisee who encountered the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus wrote these words: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate….I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (Romans 7:15 and 19). And then he answers the question: “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25) Then Romans chapter eight tells all about how Paul is forgiven, made new and free!
The Good news is the foolish cycle of vomit and mud can end. We can put our hope in God, and all of the resources He has made available to be free. He wants that more for us than we want it for ourselves. Next time, instead of returning to the mud or the vomit, return to God!
Dr. Daryl Donovan, Pastor: Sanibel Community Church