When I first crawl into bed at night, I announce, “It’s time,” and the Budster jumps in bed with me because he knows what that means. It’s our special time. His tail wags and he rolls his head back and forth against the blankets, making yummy sounds. I love on him and pet him and he wiggles for a while before he calmly lays his head against me and closes his eyes but that is only the beginning. Soon, he’ll lift his head and growl. If you didn’t know any better, you might think he’s upset but he only growls when we are playing. It is now time to play growly hands! I lay my hand on his nose or on both sides of his head and he shakes his head back and forth trying to bite at my hand. Sometimes he wins but his bites are never hard. We have a lot of fun together. A couple of nights ago, we played a new game called pokey blanket. I pull the blanket over my head and poke at him with my hands. He goes nuts trying to get at the hand behind the blanket. Imagine Whack-a-Mole played with teeth instead of a padded whacker. Mom can hear us clear in the other end of the house. I poke, he growls and bites and I laugh. He’s a kid again and so am I.
Last night, after growly hands and pokey blanket, Buddy collapsed beside me, all wore out. I reached over and covered him with the blanket like I used to do with Ruger every night. His head shot up and he gave me a strange look. It was the first time someone had covered him with a blanket like that and he wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I told him it was okay and began petting him. Soon he relaxed and laid his head back down. After our games he will usually lay down next to me on top of the blankets. He’ll stay for a few minutes and then get down and I can finally go to sleep. Under the blanket last night, he stayed for nearly a half hour before getting down. It was a new, confusing experience but in the end, he liked it.
Our blanket has many meanings to the Budster and me, all of them good, but it took a while to get there. You see, it’s not the blanket, it’s the relationship.
There is no “one size fits all” method to building and maintaining a relationship, whether it’s with a spouse, a pet or with God. Yes, relationships with God differ from person to the next. How we introduce Him to others can vary as well. When we refer to God as our Father, someone may understand that in a caring, familial sense while another might pull away or even run. Whereas some people have fond feelings of family, others may have had an abusive parent and they relate any father figure as harmful. I know people who cannot get close to God because they had (or have) a poor relationship with their earthly father. To them, God is not their Father. He is a supreme, judgmental being who must be obeyed. It’s called transference, an unconscious redirection of feelings from one person to another. They are missing out on something unimaginably wonderful because they blame all fathers for what their father did. Women might blame all men for the bad things their uncle Ernie did to them. People blame all dogs for the one that bit them when they were young.
The concept of the church being the Bride of Christ may be dreadful to a woman in an abusive marriage. For different reasons, guys can’t wrap their head around being a bride either. Think about it. If you attempt to witness to a Muslim, you might not want to say that the church is the Bride because they have a completely different idea of how brides are to be treated and they may not want that for themselves. Our experiences and our culture play huge roles in determining what is acceptable and what is feared or forbidden.
Let a “radical” Muslim hear you sing the hymn, At the Cross, and watch his reaction.
Alas! and did my Saviour bleed!
And did my Saviour die?
Would he devote that sacred head
For such a worm as I.
Please don’t make me explain it.
Years ago, we sang a hymn in church, written by Fanny Crosby. It’s called Rescue the Perishing and it goes like this.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Snatch them in pity from sin and the grave;
Weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen,
Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying,
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.
Snatch them in pity? Those two words, snatch and pity, don’t belong in the same sentence and you cannot “snatch” anyone from sin let alone the grave. It is not mere semantics. You can’t find a synonym to make it any better. “Tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save.” It’s not a call to show compassion, it’s a battle song. Even the music sounds like something sung by soldiers marching into battle, not by a caring soul tending the wounded and broken. Don’t throw that blanket on the perishing or dying because it’ll do more harm than good. Sorry Fannie, I’m not a fan.
1 Corinthians 8:13
For this reason, if food causes my brother or sister to sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I may not cause one of them to sin.
Christians will spend hours and days trying to explain/justify why eating meat (or whatever) is right and holy and expected of us rather than consider the damage they are doing. It is possible to be right and so very wrong at the same time.
We must use our blanket wisely and with compassion. There might even be times we shouldn’t use it at all.