Last updated 11/21/2023 at 11:10am
The legend behind the development of the Scottish Terrier breed is that an English lord, living in Scotland in the 1800s, evaluated his new breed of dogs by saying, “These dogs act just like the people I live around here in Scotland. They are tough, smart, and stubborn as the devil himself. We’ll call them Scottish Terriers.”
Well, they are all of that, especially stubborn! Like any particularly smart child, the Scotties want to be able to make choices for themselves. And, just like a child, if allowed some freedom—and they prize freedom above all else—they will make the occasional mistake.
It is this freedom to make mistakes that makes each Scottie a beautifully unique individual and so enjoyable to be around.
Many believe that God created humans to be His unique companions. In order to ensure each human is unique, He gave each of us “free will”. This freedom of will means that we have unlimited ability to build and create but sometimes we do make mistakes.
Many also believe that God is only love and good. Some faiths like to say that sometimes God gets mad and creates chaos like earthquakes, floods, and other things to “punish people” for their bad behavior. This belief is clearly an error in understanding the deep symbolism in the Bible. Origen of Alexandria taught us that from the opening sentence of Genesis to the closing sentence of Revelation, the deep message running through every page is about the journey of the Soul back to God. As such, many things, including floods, earthquakes, and chaos, have symbolic meanings about the challenges our Soul faces coming to grips with and willfully returning to God.
If we believe God is good and God is love, then God does not punish humans for their errors. It is God’s law of cause and effect—also known as karma—that does the job of making groups of people, and each individual, pay for the consequences of their errors.
This law is neutral, it does not care how important you are or how noble you may be, when you do or think something unkind, thoughtless, or mean, the law of cause and effect eventually returns the consequences of such thought or behavior back to you, making you feel the punishing result of that error. God is good, but the law is impersonal. It is through the execution of this law that we are able to learn from our mistakes. As we learn we become more unique, and hopefully we each grow from our experiences.
Think about this concept and you can understand why we have “evil” in this world. Let’s take a minute and examine a little history. Hitler came into power in Germany as a result of the country’s economic collapse and astronomical inflation after WWI which was caused by the imposed post war sanctions of European powers. Leaders of those countries who suffered horrific losses, wanted to penalize the German people for having “started the war”.
When we punish an entire nation for the actions of its leaders, we’re being less than kind and loving. Thus, the law of cause and effect came into play. The German people’s suffering created an opening which allowed a glib madman to rise to great power. Hitler took control of the country and then he wanted to punish those who hurt Germany.
This madman did horrible things to many people, murdering millions, and eventually creating WWII. He ultimately paid for his cruelty though the law of cause and effect, experiencing miserable times before his final suicide.
At last, after World War II ended, some world leaders realized that punishing the German people again was wrong, letting that deadly cycle of cause and effect come to an end. God did not cause any of the pain, suffering, and horror of World War I and World War II. It was all the result of people’s cruel and selfish use of free will.
The above story is an excellent example of why Jesus taught us to “turn the other cheek.” This isn’t about letting others slap us around. It’s about realizing that escalating conflict and trying to punish others for their wrongdoing does not solve problems. Escalation only leads to greater escalation. Finding a way to be kind and a peacemaker is the only way to turn down the escalation of hostilities.
Sometimes an opponent will not calm down. But the one thing we can be assured of is that the law of cause and effect will always eventually come into play with bad behavior on either side of conflict. We know that all of us will only grow spiritually when we look for ways to help others, not hurt them.
We can see the consequences of stubbornness in the world around us. Being tenacious, and not giving up is a good thing, but being unwilling to learn from our mistakes only brings future pain and suffering.
I’ll say this for Scottie dogs, they learn from their experiences. The wolf in their DNA teaches them to learn swiftly. They learn quickly to stay away from danger, and they also easily learn how to teach the people they live with to give them the treats and things they want.
Like Scotties, people are smart and often stubborn. We all benefit by learning how to always be kind, loving, and forgiving of others. With that we make the law of cause and effect work for us, rather than against us. For if we spread love, kindness, and forgiveness, then love, kindness and forgiveness comes back to us.
Cause and effect is also compared to sowing and reaping: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” Galatians 6:7