OPELIKA, Ala. (BP)–With chocolate brown Bambi eyes and a fun-loving personality, Mickey Plowman holds a very special place in my heart.
Weighing in at six pounds and two ounces, my bundle of joy has definitely been shown favoritism in the Plowman household. He’s the only family member my husband and I allow to sleep in our bed every night — contrary to the parenting counsel we offer others. He received far more grace during our potty-training course than did the other members of our family. When he’s grouchy, the other members are blamed for his selfish disposition, and he’s the only Plowman who possesses his very own personalized dinnerware.
Mickey (a.k.a. “The Baby”) is my tan and silver Yorky. To say that he is adored would be an understatement. He goes to the beauty shop once a month, watches TV, and when all the stockings are found hanging in a row, Mickey’s is the shortest one, so Santa’s sure to know.
As with any proud “Mama,” my Mickey can do no wrong. That is, until the other night. In a rush to get to basketball practice on time, we left the supper dishes on the kitchen table with healthy portions of leftover spaghetti on each one. Mistake number one. Giving Mickey the benefit of the doubt, I assured everyone that “The Baby” wouldn’t dare disobey by climbing onto the table. Mistake number two.
When we arrived home after practice, Mickey didn’t greet us at the door as he usually does. There was no wagging tail and no licks of love.
Instead, we found him cowered in the corner, tail tucked and ears low. I didn’t have to guess the reason why. He had indulged himself to such an extent that his little tummy just couldn’t cope. He had thrown up all over the house.
Being the forgiving, compassionate “Mama” that I am, I graciously began to clean the regurgitated spaghetti piles and proceeded to make excuses for Mickey’s actions. Then, much to my surprise (and disgust), Mickey committed what I would consider to be the ultimate doggie sin. He returned to his vomit. In other words, he ate one of the piles. I was mortified to say the least. How could he be sorry one minute and commit such a vile act the next?
Although we, likewise, commit many vile sins against God, He loves us anyway. He even graciously cleans up our messes: He washes our sins with the shed blood of Jesus, not just once, but over and over. Just like Mickey, we are often sorry for what we have done, but then we “return to our vomit” and require more forgiveness and grace. As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly (Proverbs 26:11, NIV).
It took me a while to get over Mickey’s offense. After all, he does share my pillow. But Jesus offers instant and complete forgiveness. Even as He paid the price for our sins by dying on a cross, He prayed, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). That’s how much He loves us!
Ginger Plowman, of Opelika, Ala., is an assistant director for Proverbs 31 Ministries, for which she speaks at women’s events and parenting conferences across the country. For more information visit her website at www.gingerplowman.com.