This is Barley. The photo above is when he was an adorable puppy in 2014. Now he is older of course, but he’s still pretty adorable.
Barley belongs to our son, daughter-in-law, and two of our grandchildren. Barley is a full-bred Brittany, a breed of dog once called Brittany Spaniel until the early 1980’s when the name was changed to simply Brittany.
Barley totally fits the description of his breed. He is extremely smart, loves to please, and has a lot of energy so he is most enthusiastic about taking long, brisk walks. He’s also very obedient and our son has trained him well. He follows commands and willingly performs a repertoire of tricks.
But one of the aspects of Barley’s personality is that he is oh, so loving. I recall when our son and daughter-in-law first brought Barley to meet us and told us the breeder referred to him as a “love bug.”
That he surely is. Someone along the way forgot to inform Barley that he’s not a lap dog because he loves to jump up into our son’s arms or hop into your lap for snuggling. And that’s a lot of dog in your lap!
Barley is truly a great pooch, loyal to his family, well-trained, lovable, and bright. But now it’s time for confession: I’m not a dog person, but I do love Barley.
Honestly, I’ve never wanted a dog to join my family. I grew up with many felines as pets, not once a canine.
As a child, I remember one occasion when I came very close to being bitten by a mutt, and I recall as a young teenager taking a walk with my friends when we were chased by a fierce looking, growling German Shepherd.
Just a bit frightening, but I’m not necessarily afraid of dogs, I’m just not fond of them and I have never liked when they jump up on me and try to lick my face. Yuck.
But Barley is a different story. He is so eager to see us, he becomes wound up and excited but he’s obedient enough not to jump up on me. He follows me begging for my attention and affection.
And when he turns those deep brown eyes full of love on me, I just swoon and coo to him in baby talk. “Is Barley a good boy? Does Barley love his Nana?”
Yeah, I’m a sucker for him. If I’m sitting down, he hops up into my lap and closely snuggles with me. He’s just so lovable, I cannot resist him.
Barley is smart enough to know when he’s done something wrong though. The expression in his eyes and look on his face tells the story. That sheepish, “who me?” kind of look.
And that prompted me to think about us humans. Don’t we do the same thing? We say or do something we know is wrong but when we’re called out on it, we feign a ‘who, me?’ look on our faces to try to deny it.
For those of you who thought this post was a cute story about an endearing doggie, you might want to brace yourself for this next part.
An epidemic of wrongdoing is occurring in our society currently and it seems the human race is pitted against one another. We rail with denigrating, vehement words and deeds against people who don’t think the same way we do.
One political party against another. One supporter of this policy or that against the anti-whatevers. One side claiming to be justified while pointing fingers at their perceived adversaries as wrong or uneducated or worse yet, stupid.
And it’s dividing us in so many ways. Dividing friends, dividing families, dividing us by race, creed, and religion. All because we don’t agree.
We can claim, “not me, I don’t do that.” But you know what? We are all guilty as charged. We do it and we continue to do so. We’ve bought into this ‘you’re either for me or against me’ mentality that society has promoted. Some of us just haven’t been called out on it yet.
Speaking of myself here, when all is said and done, I know that my words, my actions, and yes, even my thoughts will be called out someday, if I don’t address them today by admitting those wrongdoings and repenting of them.
When I rant against and denounce those who don’t agree with my stand on life’s aspects, or my beliefs, or my political persuasions, I can’t say I’m blameless. I can’t put that ‘who, me? I didn’t do it’ look on my face.
As a believer in Jesus Christ, it’s a sobering thought to know that all mankind will stand before God to be judged. Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37: “I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”
According to the Bible, those who don’t believe in Christ will be judged and then punished according to what they’ve done. But believers’ deeds will also be judged (Romans 14:10 tells us about the judgment seat of Christ). Those whose names are noted in the Book of Life (those believers who have accepted the gift of salvation) will be judged to determine their rewards in heaven.
But here’s the thing: just claiming to be a Christian won’t be your one-way ticket into eternal life in heaven. Going to church, tithing your money, opening up your Bible from time to time, and being “a good person” are all activities we often associate with being a Christian.
But if we’re not following and obeying Christ, if we don’t have a real and personal relationship with Him, if we don’t put Him first and foremost as Lord of our lives, our eternal life is in deep jeopardy.
Too easily even believers can reject truth, turn away from God, and be drawn to loving and adhering to what our society deems ‘good’ instead of following Christ and His Word.
It’s all about our hearts and what desire lies within. Is it truly believing God’s Word and its declaration of what is good and what is evil? Or is it embracing our society’s version and its worldview?
Do we love Christ above all else and glorify His name in what we say, think, or do? Or does self-gratification, acquiring money, power, notoriety, or being perceived as “politically correct” rule our hearts?
No matter what, we will all answer those questions someday. And when we must, we won’t be able to claim “Who, me?” and deny the truth.
Wouldn’t it be better if those of us who profess to be Christians prayed for our fellow humans, especially those we don’t agree with? Prayed for this strife between fellow humans to end? Prayed for those we perceive to be our “enemies?” Prayed for truth to prevail?
“Facing the truth might be uncomfortable but denying it is devastating.” ~ unknown