The Budster and I had just stepped out for another morning walk yesterday when I spied some large birds in our driveway, three Guinea hens to be exact. The neighbors down the road have difficulty keeping track of their critters. At first the hens were quietly wandering back down the driveway toward the road but became loud and obnoxious when they saw us. I told Buddy, “No” and he obediently moseyed into the grass to do his business so I whipped out my cellphone to capture the bird moment. The next thing I knew, Buddy came around me and took off after the birds. I yelled, “BUDDY, NO!” several times to no avail. I stopped filming and ran after him, yelling. His dog mode was in overdrive and he was oblivious to my attempted intervention. We crossed the street into a pasture and I tripped. I knew it was going to be a hard fall so I tried to tuck and roll but I didn’t have time. My head tucked but I wasn’t tucked enough and I landed hard on my head and neck. Unable to move for a bit, I continued to yell at the Budster who had corned a hen against the opened gate. Feathers! The bird got loose and ran back into the street following after her two friends with Buddy in hot pursuit.

No, he didn’t get the bird except for a mouthful of feathers. Yes, he was in trouble and got a pop on the butt for what he had done and for not listening. Yes, that single pop on the butt crushed him. He laid on the ground on his back and wouldn’t move. A new situation called for a new approach and I calmly coaxed him back to the house. I felt horrible for popping him on the butt. He was just being a dog.

Everyone was doing what they do. The birds were wandering and getting loud, as Guineas do. Buddy was being a dog, chasing after the loud, flappy birds. I was doing my job of trying to stop a potential fiasco. Everything in God’s creation does what it is expected and all is well when things do what they do in a particular environment but when incompatible things cross paths, bad things can happen. Gasoline should not cross paths with fire. Oil should not cross paths with water. Mayonnaise should not cross paths with peanut butter. Yes, we all know there are exceptions to almost every rule but those exceptions are freakish and unnatural. You can sometimes mix gasoline with fire under certain controlled circumstances and maybe oil and water but I’m not sure about mayonnaise and peanut butter. Before we continue, there is no universal ‘rule’ never to mix gas and fire. It is advisable not to mix the two given the predictable outcome.

Birds and dogs don’t usually mix unless they are trained under a watchful eye until they all can be trusted. Buddy is not used to being around noisy, flappy birds. Buddy was being a normal dog and those Guineas were being normal Guineas. The result of the mix was to be expected under normal circumstances. Buddy gets along with cats and he even shrugs at the random encounter with Annie’s front yard bunny rabbit. I’m not sure how he would react to the bunny if I wasn’t around and I don’t want to find out. Like many other dogs, he is an exception to those normal rules.

At one time, birds and dogs and lions and tigers and bears all got along. People got along but that was a very long time ago when everyone and everything lived under different circumstances. The circumstances changed when Adam and Eve disobeyed God.

By default, certain species of animals do not get along with others. By default, man has to work for his meals. By default, women experience pain in childbirth and by default, thorns and thistles grown in the fields all because of sin. A different situation called for different approach.

Ah, but you might say my animals get along and my fields do not have thorns to which I would reply, remove yourself from the equation and see how fast things return to the default. It is not a ‘rule’ that different animals do not get along so you are not the exception to any ‘rule’. It is not against the ‘rules’ for childbirth to be painful or to have a field free from thistles and thorns. How a person, animal or plant exists in its natural state is not dictated by rules, rather by a natural order of things, a default if you will. Trust can override a default.

By default, people are not allowed to just walk into our house. You have to really REALLY be trusted to turn that door knob and walk in. We created the rule, or rather the default and trust is the key to override that default.

Sometimes your default behavior must adjusted when you can’t trust someone else to do what is expected of them. Because he has gained out trust, Buddy has been allowed to walk with us outside without a leash. He may have to be on a leash now because the neighbors can’t be trusted to keep their birds at home. We have to adjust our default. If their birds continue to show up at our house they will by default become our birds. It is not an exception to any ‘rule’, rather an adjustment of the default based on different circumstances and levels of trust.

Most people confuse rules and defaults. They think defaults are hard and fast rules and rules are merely suggestions. Rules are not meant to be broken, no matter what people may say. Defaults may be adjusted but rules are meant to be obeyed. God’s rules, His laws are not up for debate. They are not meant to be broken. They are not adjustable defaults.

Review the ‘rules’ you claim to live by and determine which ones are not rules at all but actually defaults. Don’t feel guilty when you are forced to adjust a default because you are not breaking a ‘rule’. When people see you declaring something to be a rule and they see you ‘break’ that rule, you are viewed as a hypocrite and your testimony suffers. For example, you may say, “I only eat healthy foods,” thereby declaring a rule. Are you sure you mean it as a rule and not a default? You will be held accountable. Don’t say, “Herbal remedies are as good if not better than going to a doctor” because you will be held to that when/if you get cancer or pneumonia or you need a tetanus shot. You will be held to the ‘rules’ you declare.

By default, people in the country take care of their animals. our neighbors shirked their responsibility and placed it on our shoulders. Because of that, Buddy deviated from his normal behavior and reverted to his default. Should he be punished for being a dog? Should he be allowed to kill the bird that someone else refused to care for? Should I sue the bird’s owners because I got hurt trying to protect an animal they didn’t care enough about to protect?

If someone is unable to respect so much as a simple, acceptable default, can they be trusted to respect and obey the Law?

Luke 16:10-12
10 “The one who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and the one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. 11 If then you haven’t been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will entrust you with the true riches? 12 And if you haven’t been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you your own?

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About the Author

Joyce Ellis is the CEO and Caretaker of WarmFuzzy's Animal Shelter & Sanctuary. She was born with the vision, the Energizer Bunny who keeps going and going. She is Fuzzy1 of all WarmFuzzy's.

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