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A dog thinks it's human; a cat thinks it's God...

Posted by whybelieveinjesus on December 10, 2013 at 12:40 AM

I have heard it said before that "A dog thinks it's human; a cat thinks it's God", and on the whole I can certainly see where that thinking comes from! Generally we have the picture that dogs love to please their owners. They are easily delighted, loyal and friendly. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule! Cats on the other hand can be a bit snooty, arrogant and self-sufficient - or they like to think they are. I used to have a beautiful tortoiseshell cat called Summer who reached the ripe old age (for a cat!) of 18. She was very loving and enjoyed cuddles but definitely had an air of importance around her and wanted everything to be on her terms.

 

A lot of the time it was fine for things to be on her terms. She knew what she wanted and we as owners were happy to let her have them because it resulted in a contented cat and a lot of purring. The problem was that what she thought she wanted to do was not always beneficial for her. For example she went through a habit of climbing on the kitchen work surfaces and walking across the cooker. Whenever she would do this, I would raise my voice and tell her to get down. If she didn't, I would scoop her up and put her on the floor. If she did it again, I would repeat the process. This made her irritable. I had vetoed something she wanted to do, and it made her want to do it again. Eventually she got into the habit of not going up there and didn't attempt it again. The purring recommenced.

 

So what's my point? Cats do not understand English or any other language. They may get the general gist of what we are saying to them by our actions, tone of voice, and even recognise a few words, but you cannot hold a meaningful conversation with a pet. In Summer's mind, me getting angry with her when she walked across the cooker was irrational and the action of a killjoy. I was simply telling her to get down because I could. What she never realised was that there may one day be an occasion when she went to walk across the cooker and it was still hot from when it had been on, or perhaps there would be a boiling saucepan on it. My concern for her was that she would stay safe and avoid obvious danger. I didn't want her to hurt herself and I warned her against it. She never understood why I did what I did but grudgingly she obeyed and respected my wishes.

 

In a similar way, we humans can rage against God when He tells us not to do something. We can say that he is being a spoil sport or exerting His authority where it is not wanted, but God does not tell us to do or not to do things for no reason. If God tells us in the Bible that something is wrong and that He will be displeased if we do it, it doesn't mean that He doesn't have his reasons. Just as Summer never fully understood why I behaved the way I did, we are not on par with God and cannot fathom all he tells us, but we are reminded constantly in the Bible that he does things for our own good and for our benefit. His anger is short-lived, He forgives quickly and guides us back to how we should be. When He is displeased with us, He still loves us more than we can ever know - and certainly much more than I ever loved my cat, or even members of my family.

 

God gives us a lot of guidance in the Bible - some instructions are black and white but a lot of it requires wisdom and judgement on our part in order for us to apply His instructions to particular situations. Even with the best of intentions, we will get it wrong but most of the time our intentions aren't right anyway. I find it hard to trust God to know best when I think I can see how I want my future to be. When He closes doors in my life and I just don't get it, sometimes later on I can see why - He was holding open a better door. Other times, I will not know why things have happened until I die. But knowing that God loves us as much as He does, enough to sacrifice His Son for us even whilst we are still rebellious and sinful, I know that I can trust Him even if I don't know what it is He is doing or where my life is heading. When it comes to my attitude towards God, I should rein in my cat-like arrogance and adopt the delight and obedience of a well-trained dog, knowing full well that my Master will look after me and give me everything I need.

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