photo © 2010 Neil Kremer | more info (via: Wylio)Yesterday evening on my walk through the neighborhood, I saw a little doggie running loose. Now, I'm partial to little doggies, and I don't like to see them get hit by cars, so when I see one out, I usually tell them, "Go home, doggie!" and oddly enough, they usually look at me for a second, then turn around and go home. I'm like the Pied Piper of Doggietown. Anyway, not only did this doggie not turn around and go home, he stayed exactly where he was, which was exactly in the middle of the street! Apparently something smelled mighty good to him out there.
So I decided to up the stakes. I actually walked out into the street toward him, yelling "Go home, doggie!" hoping to get him to leave the street (and danger) and get back into some yard or on the sidewalk. And he did leave the street... he started barking at me and backed me out of the street onto the sidewalk! He was a little dog so I wasn't afraid he was going to hurt me too badly, but he was pretty cranky and nobody wants to get bitten, even by a little dog. He barked and barked at me, and every time I tried to walk away he would advance. I had to back away with my satchel between me and him to make sure I didn't get teeth marks in my ankles! As soon as I was far enough away to suit him, guess what he did? He walked right back out there into the middle of the street, in the dark, with cars coming, and stuck his nose right back into whatever he was smelling before. From down the street I watched the next SUV come down the street, hoping I wasn't about to witness a doggiecide... fortunately they spotted and went around him (he stayed in the middle of the street the whole time)!
I was thinking... people are just like that sometimes. Some people, if you see a pitfall in their lives and say something to them about it, will take your advice and avoid the problem. Other people, if you give them even very good advice, will go on the defensive or even on the attack, and you wind up having a hard time extracting yourself from the situation without getting hurt by the person you were trying to help! Does this mean that we shouldn't try to help people (and little doggies) who are in danger? Of course it doesn't mean that. Jesus loved each of us, and Jesus certainly gave us a pretty strong picture of self-sacrifice to save someone who needed saving. I do think that Jesus used a great deal of wisdom and spiritual insight in selecting the people He was going to offer aid to, though; you don't really see people in the Gospels being offered help by Jesus and resisting it. So maybe if I had listened more closely to the Holy Spirit I would have left Mini-Cujo alone. And maybe there are some situations in which the Holy Spirit will guide you out of a situation instead of into it. The key is that just because this doggie went on the offensive it doesn't mean that I shouldn't try to help the next doggie who is out playing in the street. And if you get hurt by some person you are trying to help, don't be scared to help the next person. That person might receive your gift with thankfulness, and you may be able to change, or even save, that life.