Can people change? Does rehabilitation work? Or, is it true that once a killer always a killer? The Apostle Paul had a true change of heart and ways. He even changed his name. He laid down his persecution and brutality and followed Christ. He had been a killer, violent and cruel. He changed, transformed by love….or rather an understanding of love. But, few of us are like the apostles. We also don’t have the blessing of truly hearing the voice of God or listening to him snore or laugh or swat away flies. Often, the downwind effect is dilutional. Those who walked beside Martin Luther King have a totally different experience of civil rights than those of us who only read and hear recordings. Our faith can also be just as faint and diluted.
But, I believe I can be like the apostles and have a true change of heart. I do not have to have the same bitterness or contempt. I can love and be kind. I can let go of past hurts and forgive. It is not an old testament turning the other cheek, either. I am not willing to take a beating. I will not offer myself in sacrifice to abuse. But, I do not need to bite back or react. If a pitbull comes charging at me and sinks his teeth into my arm, I won’t offer him my throat to see if he will let go and back down. I will punch the beast in the head and fight for my life. Could he kill me? Maybe. But I have a life worth fighting for. I have faith I was made and placed for purpose and I am on the right path now. Could he rip my arm off? Possibly? Could I lose a lot of blood? Definitely. But then, the neighborhood will be on high alert that there is a crazed, vicious animal lose. And that is how pitbulls get bad reputations. Not all bull terriers are vicious and mean. It is like saying all handguns are murder weapons. But, one bad experience, and all dogs are suspect for a while. It is unfortunate, because I like dogs.
The two times in my life I have been attacked by dogs, I was doing absolutely nothing to deserve it. The first was by Aunt Murphy’s dog, Sammy. The neighborhood kids were running through the Doris’s and Casey’s backyard. The dog was on a long chain. I was outside of the range of his chain…..or so I thought. And he came out after me and bite my leg. The second time was Miss Margaret’s doberman, Princess. She sat behind the counter at the ceramic shop. She was sweet and prissy and charged at me full throttle. Both times I cowered and lost some flesh. I was a child both of those times. I am not a little girl anymore.