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New Tricks Or An Old Rugged Cross?!

John Holmes said something about people and dogs that caused my mental wheels to whirl when I read it. See what you think — "A dog is not 'almost human' and I know of no greater insult to the canine race than to describe it as such." Sounds like Holmes may be a little sour on the human race. But before you totally dismiss his statement, read the following story (author unknown) and think about it. A man e-mailed a hotel to see if his dog would be allowed to stay there with him. He received the following answer: "Dear Sir, I have been in the hotel business for over 30 years. Not once during that time have I ever had to call in the police to evict a disorderly dog in the wee hours of the morning. No dog has ever attempted to pass off a bad check on me. Never has a dog set the bedding on fire because he smoked in the bed. And I have yet to find a hotel towel in a dog's suitcase. Your dog is most welcome at our hotel. P. S. — If the dog will vouch for you, you can come, too." Okay. I know the story is a little goofy, and it may be overreaching to make a point. But there is a point in the story it is humans, not dogs, who sin and make a moral and spiritual mess in the world God created for us to live in together. Daily headlines remind us we live in a-badly fractured and fallen world Instead of peace there is war; - instead of love, hatred; instead of harmony, hostility; instead of acceptance rejection; and instead of kindness, there is often killing in one form or another. The borders and barriers that divide and hold human beings apart in homes and communities and nations are not just physical. Sin separates people from God. And race, religion, class, caste, creed, breed, place, face, prejudice and pride divide and sometimes cause people to do awful things to each other. Is there any reason to hope for real change in such a fragmented world? Can hostile people learn to come together and live in peace and harmony in spite of the physical, philosophical, verbal and/or emotional barriers and borders that have divided so badly for so long?

Some people don't think so. You hear this conviction in the old expression, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks." On hearing this as an excuse not to change for the better, one lady said to the speaker, "So isn't it good we are not old dogs?!" The Gospel holds out prospect not only for the possibility people can change but also for the power that brings it about. In speaking about the intense hatred and hostility that existed between Jews and Gentiles, the apostle Paul wrote these stunning words iin Ephesians 2:14-16 — For He Himself (Jesus Christ) is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that He might 1 reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity." God's way of bringing warring people together is not to teach them new tricks. His way is to bring them to an old ringed cross. If you come closer to Christ and His will, and I do the same thing, will we not be coming closer to each other? The question is are we willing to come closer to Christ. Think about it.

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ