Chances are good you’ve seen the little 5-pound lap dog that thinks he’s a Doberman trapped in a little dog’s body as he fiercely growls and barks and threatens to bite your ankles. And then, there’s Bo. The 7-month-old, 100 lb. Mastiff who’s just sure he’s a lap dog as he puts his huge paw gently up to my face and tries to snuggle on my lap. He’s just a puppy who wants to be loved and has no idea how big he is, or any pre-conceived notions that he can’t be a lap dog. He only knows that desire inside to be loved and accepted. Oh, if people could only grasp that concept. We all have that desire to be loved and accepted inside, no matter what we look like on the outside. The dark colored clothing and hoodies covering heads, with eyes lowered, is not the sign of someone undeserving of love. It’s often the sign of the abuse she’s endured at home as she’s been touched against her will… causing her to feel unworthy of being truly loved. The child acting out in school, picking fights and appearing to be a bully? He’s got a father at home telling him he’s not a man if he doesn’t go fight the toughest kid in school to prove his worth. He’s often just re-enacting the abuse he’s seen at home. Or maybe he’s just hungry and tired because while there is a never-ending supply of cigarettes and alcohol? There is no food. He’s never been shown love, so he doesn’t know how to walk in it. He walks in the anger and hurt of what he knows. The bible says repeatedly “The greatest of these is Love”. We are called to walk in love. Those of us blessed to be walking in freedom and peace? We need to show love to those the rest of the world shuns or labels. We need to bring the power of the gospel to life through a kind word or deed. We need to see beyond the outside and try to transform them on the inside.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has grievance against someone. Forgive as the LORD forgave you. And over all these virtues, put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” – Colossians 3:12-14