Scottie dogs and cats

 

Last updated 10/3/2023 at 11:03am



I’ve lived all my life with cats and dogs. If you read this column regularly, you know I love dogs. I like cats. Some I’ve lived with were truly wonderful. Smoki, who became the Magical Cat in my six-book children’s series, “Harry and Lola Adventures,” was sweet, intelligent, and just plain wonderful. Which is why he became a magical hero in the book series. Smoki was an exception to what I’m about to say.

It has been observed that attitude is the major difference between cats and dogs. To sum it up: Cats ask, “What are you going to do for me?” while dogs ask, “What can I do for you?”

Cats tend to have a high degree of arrogance, while dogs generally come to us with a good amount of humility in their desire to serve. There is a great little story in the New Testament that addresses this issue.

Jesus told the brief story of the Pharisee and the publican. (Pharisees were members of a Jewish sect that believed in following traditions that were not necessarily documented in the Bible but came from “the traditions of the fathers.” Publicans were Jewish tax collectors. Most taxes, like land taxes, were collected by Roman administrators. Toll taxes, for transporting goods, were mostly collected by Jews under contract with the Romans.)

These two people went to the temple to pray. The Pharisee loudly proclaimed his prayer, saying, “God, I thank thee that I am not as other men,” while the publican beat his breast and quietly said, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” As Jesus told this story, He added that it was the publican, who came to God with the best attitude. He did not condemn the Pharisee, for God is a loving God and does not condemn, but Jesus praised the attitude of the publican, saying: “for everyone that exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

The other tale, which expands on this idea and more, is the Parable of the Prodigal Son. If you don’t remember the story, it basically goes like this: The main character is the younger son. Impatient for his inheritance, he asks his father for his money. The father agrees. The older brother is resentful of his father’s extravagance. The younger son leaves home to see and experience the world. He squanders his money and eventually becomes destitute and homeless. Finally, with no other options left, the younger son fearfully returns home. He is welcomed back by his father. “When he was yet a way off, his father saw him and ran, and fell on his neck and kissed him.” The son was given a new robe, a ring, new shoes, and a great feast to welcome him home.

In the parable, the father represents God. The older brother represents the general thinking of the human race, believing in scarcity, jealousy, and fear. The younger son stands for all of us who first think we need to explore life, yet somewhere deep in our hearts believe that we can be better, and that our Father, God, can help us find that new road.

Each of us, at some point, even if like the Pharisee we won’t admit it, have made selfish mistakes. We have erred in our thinking and behavior, which in the Bible is called sin. Yet, somewhere along the way, after having made a number of mistakes and lived with the consequences of our choices, we have heard a loving voice tell us to remember that love and generosity is the only way to find true happiness and joy.

I’ve met, and I’m sure you have too, people who have said they were too bad, they had fallen too far, to ever be able to turn themselves around. The Parable of the Prodigal Son says that this is never true, and in fact, a loving God will gladly rush in to help each of us return to love, faith, and truth.

True spiritual humility, such as illustrated by the publican, is not bowing down to a tyrant nor supplicating oneself to a despotic power of some kind. It is rather like a scientist who is humbled by the amazing power in a tiny atom, or an artist who is awed by the overwhelming beauty of a night sky. Spiritual humility is the lesser bowing to the greater. An essence of God lives in each of us, but the incomprehensible vastness of the loving, powerful, and knowledgeable energy which we call God is so vast, we can’t even begin to imagine or understand it. Being humbled by It should be the only true response a person could make.

Humility before a limitless loving force is a wise thing. The great lessons here are that God wants us to use our free will and willingly come home, and God never reproaches and never condemns.

Dogs have enough humility and sense to understand that people are more powerful than they are. That’s one reason why they always want to serve us faithfully.

Cats, on the other hand, want to debate that issue.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

— 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

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