Guilty Sacrifice vs. Obedience

“Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice,” (1 Samuel 15:22).

I must admit that I made a guilt-motivated decision to get a dog for our family.

I did one of those Gideon-fleece prayers. You know the ones where you say, “Okay, God, if _______ (fill in the blank) is supposed to happen, then ________________ (fill in the blank).” Such as, “God, if we are supposed to have a dog, then let it be available when I call about it.”

Several calls and emails were returned to me saying the dogs I’d inquired about were already gone. And that should have shown me my answer—after all, Gideon only put out two fleece, right? (See Judges 6)

What can I say—guilt is a strong motivator, especially when it comes to my children.

I’ve had some terribly negative experiences with dogs, one of which was connected to an extremely painful time in my life. I was concerned that my feelings were selfish, so I felt like I was “yielding” to God by sacrificing my desires and pressing on until we were able to adopt our Pug, Jacob.

After only having him for one month, we are surrendering him to a Pug rescuer because he has become very territorial. He bit two children at our home group a couple weeks ago, and we justified it by saying he was overwhelmed (and we figured that the kids were teasing him some). But this past Saturday, Jacob bit our neighbor’s son, after running across our yard and up a hill to get to him. It was a bad bite, and now the boy is on antibiotics.

I’ve learned a painful lesson—making a decision out of guilt is never a good idea. Now I’m learning not to make decisions based on feelings. Bringing Jacob into our home, getting used to him, getting attached to him, and now letting him go…the whole thing has been an emotional roller coaster. Regardless of how painful it is, I must not let my feelings cloud my good judgment. We must get rid of the dog.

I covet your prayers.