Pick Your Pet Carefully

Title: Pick Your Pet Carefully
Category: Humor
Subject: Bitterness; Anger; Memories

Pick Your Pet Carefully

Dr. Vince Hefner, Pastor,First Baptist Church, Cherryville, NC

Why is it that we can forget what we should remember and remember what we should forget? I don’t know if it is human nature to dwell on past events that bring more pain than comfort. We can be cruising along in life and a memory pops into our minds and we begin to think about it as if it happened a few minutes ago, even if years have passed. I’ll say it again, I don’t know why we do this, but I do know the answer: we need to correct the hard feelings.

When I was just a kid, my grandfather gave my older brother and me a calf. My grandfather raised cattle and one of his cows had twins. He didn’t think she could feed them both and gave me and Van (my brother) a calf to raise. My mother sure was surprised when we showed up with our new pet! Yes, I said, “pet!” A person needs to be careful to know the difference between livestock and pets, a lesson that my brother and I learned the hard way. Back to the story at hand. When we told our mom what we had named our pet she became upset. Our Uncle Joe had passed away a few months earlier and we decided to honor him by naming our new calf after him. We thought it was the right thing to do. Mom didn’t, but Dad stepped in on our behalf and said it was all right and that Uncle Joe (the person) would not mind being remembered by a cow named after him. So that settled it.

In a matter of months “Uncle Joe” grew from a small calf to a young bull. He was so gentle that we rode on his back and treated him like one of the family. One day my Uncle Jack (no relation to Uncle Joe) came in a truck to take “Uncle Joe” to my grandfather Medford’s house. We were told that “Uncle Joe” needed more room than our back yard could provide and he would be with other cows. It was with tears in our eyes that we waved good-bye to “Uncle Joe.” Shortly afterwards, our grandfather offered to buy “Uncle Joe” from us for $300.00. Our parents explained that our grandfather was providing a place for “Uncle Joe” and it was only right that he own him. So, we agreed to sell. That fall “Uncle Joe” met his fate, and was taken to be made into steaks, hamburgers, and roasts. When my mom told me what had happened, I thought I would never forgive nor forget what they had done to “Uncle Joe.” The whole incident made me a vegetarian (well, almost). I learned a hard lesson through that experience, there is a difference between a pet and livestock!

Eventually, I forgave everybody for the “Uncle Joe” fiasco and decided never again to name a pet after a family member, living or dead. Since then I have had to forgive others for more serious things than eating someone I loved. Forgiveness is never easy, but it beats the alternative which is living in bitterness. When I think of all the things that Jesus Christ has forgiven me for in my lifetime, forgiving others becomes a lot easier. Learning to forgive and to accept forgiveness is not easy, but it is a lesson that you need to learn. How about you? Do you choose to live a life that forgives wrongful actions against you, or have you gotten use to hardness? Forgiveness comes from God when we ask for it, and forgiveness must come from others the same way, we must be willing to forgive and to forget. To miss out on this lesson is to miss out on the reason for living life. Remember, don’t give in to sin. Think about it!