Lessons From a Wayward Sheltie: Part 3 -- By Lyn Chaffart
Today's mini-sermon is the last of a three-part series inspired by a recent incident that happened to my Sheltie . . .

"Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load." (Gal 6:4-5)

Even now, as I contemplate the recent happenings to my Sheltie, I can't help but feel a little aggravated at her! After all, it was all her fault! She could have completely avoided the trauma of the huge cut on her side, the disgrace of having to wear a cone/collar around her head and a tight bandage around her middle, the indignity of having to have medication shoved down her throat twice a day, and the distress of having to be locked up in the laundry room, if she had simply obeyed and not run after that other dog! She simply shouldn't have done it. She should be friendlier with other dogs. She shouldn't have run off. She should have obeyed . . .

Haven't you ever felt this way? "John just waltzed right in there and took away my job! It wasn't right! He shouldn't have done that! He should have been sensitive to my need of this job . . . " or "It was my husband who drove me to _____ again!" etc. etc. In fact, placing total blame on others is as old as the history of this Earth. The first time we have record of this happening was actually in the garden of Eden. Eve took the fruit, ate it, and gave it to Adam, who also ate of it. When God called out to them and asked them if they had eaten the fruit, Adam's response was so -- so human! "The woman you put here with me--she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it." (Gen 3:12) Was Adam at fault? His answer doesn't say so! It was the woman's fault because she GAVE it to him. And even worse, it was God's fault, because He gave him the woman! Wow. This is getting pretty heavy! In Adam's response, he takes NO RESPONSIBILITY for having eaten the fruit! I could list numerous other Biblical and modern examples of this, but I think you get the idea! We, as humans, have been programmed from the day Adam and Eve sinned, to blame others for what happens -- to not take responsibility ourselves!

Let's go back to Elsa. Yes, she did disobey. Yes, she did bring about her own demise by running after the other dog. But every time I try to focus on how naughty she's been, my conscience pricks me.  You see, Elsa wasn't on a leash. That was NOT her fault. It was mine.  I knew she wasn't friendly with other dogs. I knew that if she ever got tangled up with another dog, she would probably end up getting hurt. Yet because it is easier on me to have her run free, I didn't put her on a leash. So ultimately, though she did disobey, the ultimate responsibility for what happened to her is -- mine!

How much heartache and hurt feelings could be avoided if we would only take responsibility for our own actions and stop trying to blame others for what happens! I would challenge each of you to look at each problem that you face and ask yourself this question: Do I have anything to do with what is happening? And if the answer is yes, take it back to the Lord and ask Him to help you in these areas. Let's take the scenario with John, for example. Yes, maybe he was given your job. But is it possible there is even the smallest bit of irresponsibility on your part when it came to the job you lost? Maybe John is always on time. Maybe he meets all his deadlines. While on the job, he puts his heart and soul into his work. Do you work by the same standards? If not, perhaps changing your own standards of work would save John from getting your job! Or let's take the second scenario. Yes, others around us do vex us, don't they? Yet, whose responsibility is it to take that step into sin? It is -- our own!

Is there any unleashed dogs running around in your lives, my friends? Ask God to help reveal them to you. Then rely on His power to help you "leash" them before they run off and take on a life of their own, causing avoidable pain and sorrow!

"Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else, for each one should carry his own load." (Gal 6:4-5)

In His love,

Lyn Chaffart, Moderator, The Nugget, Scriptural Nuggets ( www.scripturalnuggets.org ), Answers2Prayer Ministries, www.Answers2Prayer.org

(To access the entire "Lessons From a Wayward Sheltie" mini-series, please click here.)