My cat stopped eating the other day. A few days later, her lower jaw started to swell. It was an abscess. Most abscesses in cats stem from catfights but my cat is an “only” cat and she lives inside. There had been no contact with another feline species. My vet concluded it was something wrong internally with her own teeth, but before the vet could see her, the abscess grew bigger, and bigger – then it busted. When I was finally able to take her to the vet, the diagnosis was not what I expected.
What had happened to my cat? My dog.
My 10-pound Yorkie and my 8-pound cat wrestle every day as if dogs and cats should be friends. My dog had gotten too rough. My cat suffered the consequences.
Sometimes friends don’t play fair. Sometimes you are wrestling on the floor, thinking you are having a good time, and suddenly you get a puncture wound. You swell. You bleed. You hurt. And it all stemmed from someone you trusted, someone that by no means should have sucker punched you in the gut.
You don’t know what to do at this juncture, do you? Do you “let it go” and act like nothing has happened? After all, you like your friend the dog. You want to “keep the peace.” Maybe the dog knew not what she did. That is possible right? But what if she did? What if she did know she was chomping down on your flesh too hard? What if she meant to draw blood? Do you call her out? Do you even remain friends?
This is a quandary for a Christian, especially if the person you are dealing with is another Christian. A good friend of mine has been dealing with this issue a lot in her life lately. She feels like she has been in a boxing ring with a variety of people and guess what? They are all people from her church.
Christians are biting other Christians.
This brings up a big question in my head that I have wrestled with for quite some time. How are Christians that bite other Christians even Christian? Do you see where I am going with this? How are they walking the talk?
A few years back I trusted a pastor. Something didn’t feel right to me about this individual, but I ignored my gut instincts and opened my home to this man and his wife. Then I saw something with my own eyes that put this pastor in the “false prophet” category. I mean, there is no doubt in my mind that this man is NOT for Jesus. He talks a good talk, but he doesn’t walk a good walk. “By their fruits you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:16).
I don’t associate with this man anymore and quite frankly I never want to see him again. Dogs and cats should not be friends, you know. If you know a dog is a dog, you need to part ways.
But the dog is sly. They are tricky. They can fool everyone around them with their stellar personality of tail (or tale) wagging. A church I know well was recently fooled into hiring another pastor who was in this “false prophet” category. As soon as I saw this man I knew that he was not batting for the right team. If I hadn’t had the experience with the first pastor, I might have turned a blind eye. Not this time. I could spot him from a hundred yards away. But the church was blinded for a time, until this man took them for almost all the money they had.
Some dogs that bite you are not trying to be friends. They have no intention of being friends, and they do not care if you are bleeding out in the end. It does not matter to them – they are true dogs.
Get away from them. As scripture says, “Keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them” (Romans 16:17).
At other times the dog is just a Christian trying to become less of a dog. They may genuinely have no intention of hurting you, but they hurt you just the same. If you are bleeding, you need to tell the person “with love” about the wound you are sporting. Christians aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. I am sure I have hurt many people in my life without intentionally meaning to hurt them. At the same time, if I am in the wrong, I correct it. I don’t take another bite. And if a friend tells me they are bleeding because of something I did, I help heal the wound.
The question is, what kind of dogs are the dogs in your life?
You have to have experience to recognize a false prophet, but once you spot one, your gut will tell you when another one is in your midst. Trust your gut – it is the Holy Spirit talking. He will protect you from bite wounds that are fatal, but he may allow a few that grow you into being the sly cat he wants you to be. After all, cats have nine lives. That means they live eternally. Dogs on the other hand, not so much.
Look out for the dogs. Learn how to spot them. You might be surprised how many of them are out there, wagging their tail (or tale) to lure you in.