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His Dog Taught Him a Lesson in Forgiveness

Although difficult, forgiveness has the power to contribute to a strong faith.

Guideposts editor-in-chief Edward Grinnan; photo by Amy Etra
Credit: Amy Etra Photography

“Be kind and compassionate to one another; forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”—Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)

If looks could kill, I’d have been dead twice over.

I’d taken Gracie to one of her favorite places—Tractor Supply Company. Gracie has trained the cashiers there to give her treats, planting her big paws on the counter. Smart girl. But I had a secret agenda, and when Gracie perceived my nefarious plan, I got the look.

A bath.

At the rear of the store is a little doggie spa with tubs, shampoo, towels, blow dryers, combs, everything you need to bathe your dog.

I’ve never understood how a dog who loves to roll in mud finds a bath so objectionable. I talk softly to her and ply her with treats, and she still acts as if she’s been led to the gallows.

At home, she retires to one of her several beds and shows me her back. Turning their backs is a way dogs sometimes demonstrate that they are upset with you. Today she was particularly adamant in her affect. Even when I brought her a peace offering—a bit of string cheese, her favorite—she snatched the treat from me without making eye contact.

So I settled in to watch the Yankees drop another game to the Rays. I was nodding off when I felt a cold nudge on my hand. Gracie. She looked up at me as if to say, “All is forgiven. Let’s be friends again.”

Forgiveness is difficult. I’m not always as magnanimous as my dog. I can cling to a grudge. Maybe I derive satisfaction in nursing a sense of injustice. Yet I know that forgiveness is a necessary ingredient in a strong faith. Jesus came to earth to forgive our sins. We are expected to forgive. I scratched behind Gracie’s ears, and she laid her head on my knee. It was nice to be friends again.

Lord, you know I have trouble forgiving a wrong. Today help me let go of a resentment and take a closer step toward you.

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