On the weekends, Bev and I spend most of our evenings watching mysteries on TV.  At some point in our evening, we get interrupted by the dogs.  Trip and Duke start wrestling.  They growl and bark at each other and it becomes to loud to listen, so we pause the show and watch the action in our family room.

They really go after each other, barking, biting pawing, growling.  Bev will often ask me if they are just playing, I assure her that yes, they are.  However, on occasion, one will actually hurt the other and the play gets serious.  At that point, as the Alpha Dog, I will intercede and stop the fight.  I send them to neutral corners to calm down. They never get that far.  The injured party will instigate the play all over again.  No malice, no anger, just fun.  Whatever the offence was, it is quickly forgotten.

I think we need to be like that.  Now, I am not talking “Forgive and Forget”.  All that does is to allow you to set yourself up to have to forgive again.  Now we do need to forgive those who sin against us – regardless of the intent of the offender.  The difference is that when we discover if the offence was intentional or not.  If it was, we need to forgive the offence, but we really should think carefully about continuing a relationship with that person.  We are not required to allow ourselves to be taken advantage of, and sometimes severing a relationship is the appropriate thing to do.  When the action was unintentional, then forgive and continue the relationship.  They key to this is to keep short accounts.

Like a dog….