As wonderful as she is, Maggie the Wonder Dog has a little history that still plagues her. She is a recovering chicken-shaking, neck-breaking (also known as chicken killing) addict. Every once in a while, she goes to the barn and picks up a stray feather. She will hold it in her mouth at length, just remembering those intoxicating days. To her credit, she has not done any chicken-shaking in nearly two years, mostly because she and the chickens are not loose at the same time, but I still give her some credit for her success.
Today, the Wonder Dogs both went with me to the barn. As you probably already know, Mamie is Maggie's adopted baby sister, also a Shih Tzu, and will turn one year old later this month. She is an expert at getting in trouble already and does not need any help from her big sister at all!
I may have started the trouble when I went to the chicken stall to give them food and water. It was so much easier to leave the door open to the chickens and reach back to the food barrel. Back and forth I went, still leaving that door open. Maggie ignored that door for as long as she could. Finally, that wonderful aroma of "chicken house" enticed her past what she could stand and she headed into the chicken's stall. I was, fortunately, still standing there and was able to slide the door shut in an instant, averting catastrophe, and keeping her out.
Once she had a good look at the chickens, she was overcome with that old blood lust and a desire for chicken shaking. She jumped up on the door and demanded to be let in for one good round. Trying to get back to her old ways was not enough. The next thing I knew, she had invited Mamie into the fray and they were both demanding entrance into the chicken sanctuary. They were barking and scratching on the door. "Let us in! Let us in!" I would not.
When they calmed down about the chickens, we had a serious discussion about Maggie leading her little sister astray. I am doubtful it made much of an impact, but I felt better for having my say.
Unfortunately, we are a lot like the Wonder Dogs, aren't we? Even when we walk away from our "big" sins, there's always something that has an overwhelming attraction to us. I'm not talking about things like drunkenness, using illicit drugs, hanging out in rough places, and doing dastardly deeds. All those things are potential areas of downfall, but those of us who have been a part of the faith for a while are usually a little more subtle with our "reverting". Instead of those obvious sins, we tend to get drawn into things like gossip, gluttony, selfishness, arrogance/pride. I'm meddling now, but I'm as guilty as any of us. What about that pleases God, though? That's the question we need to answer.
When we behave in these ways, those new to the faith must wonder. Is this acceptable? Is it okay if I act this way? Unfortunately, no tragically, these are things that grieve our Lord and can easily disillusion and lead new believers astray.
Perhaps we need to focus on removing all the sin from our lives instead of being content with removing the "big things". Let's be sure our lives lead new believers closer to Jesus, not further away.