I'm very aware that if you click on even a fraction of what's on Facebook, you're head could very well explode. There are so many stories, myths, wives tales, anecdotes and analogies floating around it's impossible to wade through all of them, much less be able to tell what's genuine and what's overblown sentiment or what's even just plain flat garbage.
There are a million stories floating around the internet.
Maybe a trillion.
Some true. Some false. Some laugh out loud ridiculous.
And the other day, in a moment of weakness, I couldn't help myself. I was on Facebook. I clicked on one. I just had to. Surely this one had to be real. It sucked me in like the tractor beam on the Death Star. Baited and hooked. Maybe you've heard of this story. It's called "The Sin of Presumption". Take a minute and read it. Then come back.
Crazy, right? And so horribly sad! That woman killed that poor dog. And he saved her baby! And how on earth did that snake get into the house?
Allow me at this point to admit that I never really made it past the first 2 sentences. Let me refresh your memory:
"There is a legend of a woman who had a faithful dog. This dog was so faithful that the woman could leave her baby with it and go out to attend to other matters."
I'm sorry. What?
A woman left her baby with the dog?
Oh, wait. It was a faithful dog? And that matters why?
Attempt to think of every conceivable thing a baby could need in an hour. The list is endless. Then try to pinpoint the number of those needs a dog could meet. Unless 1) bark at baby, 2) lick baby, and/or 3) lick himself are on the list, I think we're out of luck.
I realize I'm being a bit ridiculous. For good reason. This story is ridiculous.
How about the Sin of Stupidity? Or the Sin of Neglect?
Is there a Sin of Being the Dumbest Parent in the History of EVER?
I would have liked this story better if the dog bit the mother and then told her (in dog language, of course), "You're being grotesquely irresponsible! I can't possibly care for this infant. I'm only a CANINE!"
What a dumb story!
I remember one day in college in Systematic Theology class, our professor, Dr. Bell said, "You know, God is sort of like water. Water can be liquid, solid, or gas, but regardless...it's still water." We all sat there amazed, wondering how he'd come up with this brilliant illustration, jealous that we were not yet super theologians who could come up with analogies of this magnitude. Just about the time we were all getting over being fascinated, Dr. Bell, in his dry, straight-faced, witty way interjected this: "If I ever hear of any of you using such an atrocious illustration in an attempt to analogize God, I will hunt you down and take back your diploma." I believed him. I still do.
There are some things that we just don't need to analogize.
It's a sin to judge and condemn before we have all the information. It's presumption. It happens all the time when we fail to give each other the benefit of the doubt. Proverbs 18:17 tells us that "Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight." Let's be a people of grace; a people who give the benefit of the doubt and do our due diligence. May we be slow to judge and condemn, and quick to extend grace.
But hear this: If you leave your baby at home with the dog, we may be out of grace.