Even a Dumb Dog Don’t Lick a Hot Stove Twice (My tongue is seared from too many licks)

Growing up, did your parents ever tell you to avoid certain things? How many of us did it anyway? “Don’t touch the stove son; it is hot.” One burned finger coming up! I found my life governed by the old saying: “Even a Dumb Dog Don’t Lick a Hot Stove Twice.” Indeed, my tongue has been burned so many times. The only good that can come from such stupidity is to pass on my mistakes with the hope that others will learn from my scorched tongue.

We are living in a time of controversies. Confusion is abounding everywhere as various people grab hold of an issue and do their best to convince everyone else to join their position on it. Every issue has extremists on both sides using social media and videos in their attempt to draw people to their side, leaving most folks in confusion and/or fear. I lived through such “hot stoves” back in the 70’s and here is what I learned:

There is only one “author of confusion and fear” and it is not God (1 Cor 14:33). The enemy of our souls does not care about the issues involved. The powers of darkness simply want people to go to extremes on either side. This is what brings about division, confusion, and fear. You can see the “fruits” of such extremist views in our world today and especially in the Church.

Extremist “pastors” are calling people to leave their own church and come follow them in their extremist views. Divisions are happening throughout Christianity because of the “seeds sown” by extremists on either side of various issues. Those who sow the seeds of schism and division are not from God. St. Paul was dealing with extremists when he wrote the Epistle to Titus. He asks Titus to remind people where they came from and who they have become through Christ (Titus 3:3-7). Here are a couple of those verses, but please read it all:

“For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another…according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit…that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

St. Paul then tells Titus to insist on these things so that those who have believed in God may be careful to apply themselves to good deeds; these are excellent and profitable to men.” Then he tells Titus four things that are futile and unprofitable and exhorts us to avoid them (Titus 8-9): 1 – Stupid controversies, 2 – Stupid genealogies, 3 – Stupid dissensions, 4 – Stupid quarrels over the law

I can remember being involved with controversies back then. Honestly, I didn’t realize they were “stupid” until after they were over. It seemed like it was noble at the time. But those controversies didn’t lead me or anyone else to a closer relationship with our Lord. It led me toward a gnostic type of vain glory, thinking I knew something that others didn’t know. Yes, this kind of stupidity leads to a “blistered tongue” if one fails to learn from it.

So, I pass this on to you: Don’t get caught up with the stupid controversies of today. Focus on growing in your Faith and in your love for our Lord Jesus Christ. If you find yourself in an extremist view, put it aside and seek to live a life pleasing to the Lord: “Let our people learn to apply themselves to good deeds, so as to help cases of urgent need, so that they may not be unfruitful” (Titus 3:14).

Weighing Out Mercy

This summer, Colorado once again suffered from a lack of rain. Some of the springs out in a wilderness area where we have trail cameras had dried up. This photo is a pool of water that has gone down, but is hanging in there. The mother bear and her two cubs are certainly being refreshed in it. As I watched the video of them, I was reminded of God’s wonderful mercy and His provision for all His creation.

Everyone of us has experienced God’s mercy in some way. In fact, how many of us would not be alive today except for the mercy of God? I know that certainly applies to me more than once. If we stop and ponder it for a while, we might recall many instances of God’s mercy in our lives, not just matters of life and death, but in so many other ways. If it has been a while since you pondered God’s amazing mercy in your life, it would be worth a few minutes of your time today.

What does God ask of us in return for all the mercy He has shown us? It is pretty simple: Go and do likewise to the people we cross paths with. There is a beautiful story that puts mercy in its right place in our lives.

There was a tax-collector that was selfish, ungrateful, and mean. He would be unkind to beggars and never gave them anything. One day a beggar persisted and persisted with this man. The man was carrying a bag of bread loaves home and got so angry, he finally threw one at the beggar. Later in the night, he had a horrible dream in which he had died. He was in a room with a giant set of scales. On one side, the demons had piled on all his sins and it was weighted to the ground. On the other side, the angels of God couldn’t find one thing to put on the good side of the scale. Finally, in desperation, one of the angels pulled out a loaf of bread and said: “This man once threw this bread at a beggar and showed him mercy.” He put it on the scale and that one loaf of bread brought the scales back to an even balance. The man woke up and thought to himself: “Wow, if that one loaf of bread could do that, what would it be like if my life were filled with acts of mercy?” His life was transformed from that day forward. He became a saint of our Faith. You can read his whole story by looking up: Saint Peter the Tax-collector.

“God is kind to the ungrateful and the selfish” (Luke 6:35). Such was the case with this man and such can be the case with us no matter where we might be on that spectrum of “ungrateful and selfish.” Perhaps you, like me, can honestly say: “I would not be alive today except for His mercy!” Recognizing His mercy and the gift of life we still have, may each of us: “Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful! (Luke 6:36).

“Let mercy outweigh all else in you!” ~~St. Isaac of Syria