Like Dog Vomit
The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire. 2 Peter 2:22
I told a version of this story more than six years ago in the blog, but it’s applicable enough to retell for today’s passage. It’s pretty disgusting, but here goes . . . When our dog was still a puppy, he had some grotesque behaviors that I found nearly unforgivable. One day, while we were out in the yard, he found his own bodily waste and ate it. We shooed him away from it and he promptly vomited it up. Lesson learned. He won’t do that again, right? A few minutes later though, he returned to his vomit and tried to eat it again! It was so revolting that I found myself not liking him very much. I don’t want a dog anymore. He’s just a dog though. He was simply following his nature. His appetite told him to do a thing and he did it. It’s just what dogs do.
To us though, this kind of behavior is revolting. We’re quite good at recognizing stupidity that is external to us. When we observe a friend to be self-destructing, engaging in behavior that’s toxic to our eyes, we’re quick to comprehend the absurdity. When it’s us doing it though, we don’t see it the same way. When we make painful mistakes, causing ourselves misery, we should learn our lesson. Like my dog though, it’s our nature to return to our own vomit.
I had plenty of opportunities to abandon my drug addiction. I even made a few genuine attempts at recovery. Eventually though, I returned, burning my life down. Those who observed it were stunned. For someone who’s supposed to be so smart, you’re the dumbest person I’ve ever met. They were right. I returned to the thing that was killing me. I’d gotten sober but then I went back, choosing to ingest the very poison that would destroy my life.
It took that destruction for me to see what others saw. This is insanity. I must do whatever it takes to change. Now, in my sobriety, the challenge remains. Daily, I must still work at my faith and recovery, abandoning myself to follow God, so that I don’t ever go back. I must continually work at my flaws, daily asking God what he wants me to change. I still have grotesque pride, selfishness, and resentments, and I still have an appetite for the self-destructive. I’m not a dog though – I don’t have to live enslaved to my nature. If I’m willing, I can daily abandon the old life for the new one. I don’t have to continually return to my own vomit.