During one of our evening walks, Marci started to bark like crazy. She saw something dark moving at a nearby house. She went into barking dog mode and it was hard to get her to calm down. Funny enough, she was barking at a black plastic trash bag that was blowing because of the great winds passing through the area. It did not matter how many times I tried to tell her it was fine, she continued fixated on what she thought was an attack.
I see a lot of “little dogs” going crazy at things observed—many times misconceptions, many times judgmentally rooted. The “little dogs” are those people in a church who point out what everyone is doing wrong. A big spoon of legalism is dished out. Oftentimes this is seen between people who have grown up in the church. A person from one denomination, raised with certain traditions, barks at someone else who has been taught that other traditions were more important, or that their traditions are the “right way to do things.” Possibly the barking dog syndrome is a result of someone becoming puffed up.
The Bible talks a lot about unity of the Body. The reason so much time is spent on this topic is because the devil will use anything to try to plant and promote division. The church can often get off course when Jesus is not the most important focus. Whether we are at church, at home, at work, at school—wherever we are at—Jesus should be the main thing. As well, if Jesus is the main thing, we should do whatever we can to promote the unity of the Body. This means the little dog syndrome should stop. Instead, let us love God and love others. May we build up instead of tearing down. The bag in the wind is not something on which to fixate.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” – Hebrews 12:1-3 [NIV]
We tend to complicate things as humans. I have seen so many writings and videos providing instructions that seem unnecessary. The problem is we overcomplicate things even to the point of piling on extra baggage. In Hosea, it says that God does not want sacrifices above all else—he wants us to show love. Further, he doesn’t want burnt offerings—he wants you to know him.
Jesus Christ came to earth to pay the price for our sins so that once and for all there would no longer be this separation between us and God. Nothing ever again can get in the way of the relationship we have with God—that is unless we allow it. Unfortunately we often overcomplicate things. Some of us are legalistic. Some of us focus so much on sacrifices and offerings, but we lack the love. We put other things above knowing God.
You might love things and love people, but do you show love? Consider how you showed love this week. Is it a daily thing? Is it a way of life? You might know your neighbor but you don’t know your neighbor like you know your spouse. You know a spouse differently. God wants for you to know him in this type of way. That requires time. That requires a desire to know him. But it’s not a complicated thing to show love or to know God. Focus on him. Complications are just stumbling blocks.
“I want you to show love, not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me more than I want burnt offerings.” – Hosea 6:6 [NLT]