Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Innocent In His Eyes

Hey Friend,

I remember Sunday evenings as a little girl.  Of course, I'll date myself with this confession, but I recall getting my bath and pj's on in time to watch my favorite TV show as a youngster.  I would sit, enthralled, by Lassie- the always heroic collie dog. 

The plot was so predictable, but nonetheless, I always wound up in tears at some point during the show.  Why?  because I was so afraid that something bad was going to happen to Lassie or to one of the helpless other creatures that she was trying to rescue.  Whatever happened, I didn't want Lassie to die.

Even as an adult, I can watch movies and see people (adults) get hurt or even killed and it will not strike me as much as when a horse, cat, dog, or other innocent animal is killed.  There's something inside me that cries out, "NO  THAT'S NOT FAIR!!!". For a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me that I felt this way. 

This past week, we said a sorrow-filled farewell to our furry family member of fourteen years - Zoe.  Her passing has affected me profoundly.  I find myself crying at the drop of a hat.  I reasoned that perhaps I felt this way because Zoe has loved me and our family unconditionally for 14 years.  She has been loyal and loving and devoted. 

While all of that is true...it still wasn't quite scratching the itch that asked, "Why do I seem to feel more passion for animals than I do for people at times?"

I started to look on the flip side.  Yes, Zoe gave us glimpses of God's unconditional love.  We'd forget to give her a meal and she would forgive us immediately.  We'd leave and come back and you'd think we were the best thing since peanut butter.  She'd see us at our worst and still give us licks.  Yes, she loved unconditionally.

There was something, however, about how I loved her.  When I looked at her I saw innocence.  When, as a pup, she did something wrong like chew my slipper or pee on the carpet, the ears immediately went down when I'd catch her, and her eyes would sheepishly look up at me as if to say, "I know I did wrong and I'm sorry."

People aren't that way.  We are experts at shifting the blame...pointing the finger...passing the buck.

We've been doing it since time began...

In Genesis 3:11 in the garden God asks Adam, "Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?"  The man (Adam) said, "The woman you put here with me - she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." (first shift of blame)

Then the Lord said to the woman, "What is this you have done?"  The woman said, "The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (second pointing of the guilty finger)

Within just a few lines, already sinful Adam and Eve, are doing what humans so craftily do - they pass the buck. 

I didn't like it when my children were young and they would each point the finger at the other and say, "SHE/ HE did it, not me!!!"  I didn't like it then and I don't like it now. 

Shifting the blame is sinful behavior.  Perhaps I don't like sin in myself and, to be truthful, I don't like it in others. 

Since the fall of man (the original bite of the apple) man has been selfish, manipulative, greedy, covetous, malicious, and sometimes downright evil.

Interesting....I'm starting to get a read on why people die on TV and I don't blink, but whatever you do, don't hurt the animal.

Animals, I believe, are one of the closest things to innocence that we see.  Animals and babies or small children.  They are not capable of choosing to be malicious or sinful in their behavior.  They are the closest thing to purity that we experience on this earth.  Nothing here is perfect, but babies and animals come pretty close.  They don't think in evil ways.  To me they appear innocent.

I think I loved Zoe so much because to me she seemed so innocent and she seemed so innocent because she was so loving. 

Even in my best moments of loving, I am still stained and conditional because I am human. 

Sometimes I've wondered how God truly sees me, because sometimes I know I can be annoying as all get out.

Thankfully God sees me through a filter that no one else can see me through.

He sees me through the blood of Christ. 

Because I am covered in Christ's sacrificial blood, God doesn't see my sins, He only sees Jesus' perfection. 

In Christ's blood I am purified.  I am seen as completely innocent in His eyes. 

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

All I have to do is confess my sin (I willingly accept my guilt and don't shift the blame) and God forgives and He purifies, not from some, but from ALL unrighteousness.

Yes, Zoe has shown me glimpses of God's unconditional love for me, but even more so, she's reminds me that just as I see her and love her because she is so innocent, God sees me as innocent in His eyes because He sees me through the blood of His son.

Even more unfathomable, God doesn't love me because of something I did or didn't do.  No, He loves me just because he created me. 

God, by His very definition IS love.  He cannot deny Himself, so He is never fickle or moody or disappointed.  He is always lovingkindness.

Maybe if I tried to imitate His example I would see people in a whole new light. 

Maybe, I too, can look at them through the filter of Jesus' cleansing blood. 

I pray so...

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you ARE love and you cannot deny the lovingkindness that is your character.  Forgive me of my judgment of others.  Help me to see them through your eyes and as you do, through the blood of Christ.  Thank you for the pets you give us that not only show us glimpses of your unconditional love for us, but who teach us how to love...to see beyond the sin to the Christ purified innocence of those who call Him Lord.  Continue to soften my heart that I may love like you love.  You, O, Lord are mighty to be praised.  In Jesus' precious name, I pray.  Amen

This post dedicated to our sweet Zoe bear....be blessed....

ps. Know that if you read my blog, I pray for you morning and evening.  Please feel free to contact me if I can pray for you more specifically.
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