As many of you know, Chai has left Bailey’s and my home. There were many reasons, but the biggest one is she was trying to bully Bailey, the dog-o’-my-heart! It was sad, I really cared for Chai, and the last few days I had her I was really torn about my decision. But in the end I couldn’t keep dealing with the crazy stuff that the two of them put me through. The day before I gave her away, I petted her and loved her, and then I did what I had to do. I also prayed to discernment, that I would do the right thing and God showed me that she was to go.
Bailey and I have been going to a trainer to help us become better pets to one another. I spoke with the trainer about Chai, when I was still planning on keeping her, and she discouraged it. She felt like it would detract from Bailey and she was right. At the time I was so sure the trainer was wrong. I was already thinking of my a blog about how God didn’t give up on me, etc. I guess I was sounding and acting very co-dependent. Of course I can change this dog. Wrong!
The fact is that sometimes you have to cut-your-losses, whether it’s with an animal or a person. Failing to do so is one of the easiest ways to stay involved in sin (especially substance abuse.) But it leads to all types of sin.Those of us who are parents know that “bad company corrupts good morals.” I’ve even seen this truth happen in the dog world. When I first got Bailey she got on the bottom of the coffee table once. I discouraged that behavior and it never came up again UNTIL I got Chai. Chai and Bailey have knocked everything that was on the bottom of the coffee table off onto the floor. Part of it has been playing and romping, but part of it was Chai’s influence. (As soon as Chai left I was once again able to keep things on the bottom of the coffee table.) The first two days I had Chai she’d poop and then Bailey would poop. So I was a mega-pooper-scooper. I was eventually able to convince Bailey to start going outside again. Chai never bought into this idea. Once in awhile she would go outside, but primarily, my house became this great big, doggie-litter-box-in-the-city.
Just as Chai was a bad influence on Bailey and I wanted to separate them, we should separate ourselves from evildoers. “Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away. For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.” (Pr. 4:14-18) Anyone who has ever been around a 12-Step Group knows that people in recovery are told to change their “people and places.”
What does the Bible say about bad influences. Psalm 1:1-3 says “Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
As I was reading these verses and I was amazed at how true it is. I tried for years to get clean. I’d do alright for awhile and then fall flat on my face. I had reached the point that I thought it was hopeless, that I would always be an addict. I also would put up with people way too long, because I was so co-dependent. I remember locking myself in my bathroom and sobbing, because there were so many people in my house and they were all driving me nuts! Then one day, after a friend of mine was so high that we were in two small fender-benders and he left the scene of the accident, I made him pull over and let me out. Then he entered into a high speed chase with the police and something just clicked. I was fed up with my so-called-friends and with drugs. I told ALL of those people that as long as they were using illegal substances that they were to lose my name and number. And I meant it. I had one woman email me and I tagged her as spam. I was serious. And since then I’ve been clean. As long as I was hanging out with bad “friends,” God did not honor me or allow me to prosper. He wanted me to make a choice. I could not serve God and mammon. (Mt. 6:24) I believe that mammon doesn’t have to be literal, as in riches, but can be anything we put in the place of God.
I think part of the reason that I kept falling and not being able to stay clean was that I was hanging out with my so-called-friends and so I was a relapse waiting to happen. In Celebrate Recovery the Bible verse that corresponds to the 10th step reads, “So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” (1 Cor. 10:12.) I would justify hanging onto my friends because I was a Christian, I cared about them and I wanted to see them saved. Garbage! I was hanging onto them because I was afraid to trust God. What IF I had no friends? What if I wanted to get high again and I didn’t know where to find any dope? When I cut these people out of my life, I began to prosper. God’s Word is true. (This doesn’t just mean to proper financially, but emotionally and spiritually).
We are called to witness and to lead people to Christ, but we are to use our good sense. I think this is where people get all confused. If a sinner is seeking, really seeking, then I believe we are to reach out to them. But there are those people who use Christianity to get their needs met with no real desire to know the Lord. We have to trust God to show us the truth of that person’s desire. God will show us when we are to help and when we are to step back. The 12th Step says “Having had a spiritual experience as the result of these steps, we try to carry this message to others and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” The operative word here is “try.” We don’t always succeed at helping and we are also to protect ourselves. The corresponding Bible verse is Galatians 6:1 “Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore them gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted.” God warns us to be careful. I have to discern for myself through the Holy Spirit when I am to help someone and when I need to guard my heart.
I have a friend in Arkansas that takes in people that he shouldn’t. The last two times he took people in I warned him they weren’t what they seemed – that they were just using him because he was a Christian and they were between homes. At times they would upset him so much that he would leave his own home because it was too crowded or too noisy. He recently took in a couple with a baby and they led him to believe that they were open to the gospel. Then he learned that they were practicing witchcraft. Can you believe that he was so nice that he told them they could stay to the end of the week? I told him to throw them out that day. The man before that was actively pursuing sin and my friend was forced to ask him to leave.
So Chai has left and gone to a rescue. I hope and pray that she will find her forever home. I am sad, I had hoped that I was that home. Just like we hope that those we love will get clean or will get their lives right. How many of us have people in our lives that we truly love that are “still out there?” I know I do. But as long as they “are out there”, they can’t be here with me. As much as this makes my heart break, it breaks God’s heart more. He died for all of us, even those who reject Him. He desires for all to come to know Him, but ultimately it is their choice. Beloved, for you my brothers and sisters and beloved by God and by me, PRAY! Pray for those out there, pray for discernment and wisdom, and pray for Chai.