On Dogs, Vomit and Human Nature
2 Peter 2:22 What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit…”
Our dog gets carsick. He is a puker. If he does not throw up in the car, he throws up as soon as he gets out. Then, in an act that is inconceivable to us, he tries to again consume that which his body just expelled. We look down on him in disgust and revulsion, as we would never do something so repugnant. We are people after all, and people do not do such vile things, right?
As repulsive as I see my dog’s behavior, how repulsive must God find my behavior when I repeatedly return to my own destructive ways? Peter says that I am figuratively like my dog, returning to my own vomit, when I make the same mistakes over and over. I cannot miss this point. When I repeatedly return to my flesh nature, making the same destructive decisions, I have become a base creature of instinct that consumes its own waste.
If this disgusts you, it should. It is absolutely gross, but my dog is just obeying its animal instincts. I, having been made in the image of God, am to know better and to live better. I know God and I am to follow God. I become like my dog however, when I follow my instincts, refusing the spirit nature that God has birthed in me. I embrace my flesh nature to my own shame and failure.
This would not be so painful of a reality if it pertained only to that which was in the past. I can look back comfortably enough and tell myself that I’m glad that’s not me anymore. This admonition from Peter however is applicable to those flesh nature behaviors that I am embracing today. When I follow my lust, pride, anger, jealously, selfishness, and greed, I am still as my dog, eating his own vomit. I am willfully participating in my own destruction.
The vile language that Peter used here may seem over the top, but sometimes it takes that hard slap in the face to make me realize what I am actually doing. As I was working on this passage, God started working on me to cause me to see the things that I am currently doing that are repulsive and destructive.
If I want to follow God, I need to be willing to be honest with myself and I need to be willing to do whatever it takes to stop the destructive behaviors. I then need to do whatever it takes to keep my eyes on Christ, following him. I do not want to be all instinct and vomit. I want to follow God.