2014-10-14 - Lessons from Shiloh
Lesson 2. Never Give Up
Before our rescue dog Shiloh was taken to a Humane Society© shelter, she had been living on the street (unknown duration), was down to almost half her weight, and had cataracts on both eyes, so large that she was blind. It's amazing that she survived, especially in a high-crime area. But her God-given survival instinct and her indomitable spirit sustained her. She didn't give up, and a year later, she's in a loving, safe home, and will never be hungry again.
I give a lot of credit to the Humane Society©. It would have been easy to give up on an emaciated dog with heartworms, severe malnutrition, and no ability to see. Many people would have had her put to sleep, for any one of those. But these people believed in her; they saw her not just as she was then, but they also saw her future potential. They took her in, fed her until she reached normal weight, took her to get the heartworms treated, and then raised money for the removal of one of the cataracts. Now she's like a different dog, and the world is a brand-new adventure for her. She can see again. But she wouldn't be where she is today, if the people who found her had given up on her.
Isn't that how God is,with us? Even if we have committed or ordered murders (See the Apostle Paul.), betrayed the Lord over and over (See Peter.), insisted on "seeing is believing" (See Thomas.) or committed the countless sins that each of us have committed (often as "repeat offenders"), God still sees our potential - and we can be forgiven.
Does this mean we won't suffer Earthly consequences? Absolutely not. Jesus held people accountable, and as Romans 13 teaches us, that's a purpose of the justice system. But if we sincerely repent ("to feel such sorrow for sin or fault as to be disposed to change one's life for the better; be penitent" per dictionary.com) - and if we confess our sins - then our relationships with God, and sometimes with others, can be restored, and we can live fruitful lives.
Likewise, we should never give up on others. Does this mean condoning sin? Of course not. Jesus never condoned sin, not a single time. But it does mean believing they can change (see 1 Corinthians 13), and helping them when they sincerely make an effort.
Thanks, Shiloh, for another valuable lesson.
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the NASB unless otherwise noted.