For Your Own Good
Sara: Justin and I joke that Gus is like King Kong, because he always likes to be at the tallest point possible. If he can find a toy to stand on so he can be one inch taller, he’ll do it.
For the past couple of weeks, Gus has enjoyed climbing on one of our dining room chairs and standing on it so he could look through the glass door and see over our deck. At first, we tried to discourage this behavior, but we finally realized it wasn’t worth the struggle because he wasn’t in danger of falling.
Last week, I was working in the kitchen, and I heard him start to whimper. He had caught his leg in between two of the slats on the back of the chair. I asked Justin to get Gus out and went back about my business.
Suddenly, I heard Justin exclaim, “He’s stuck!” I came to help and then raced to get margarine to grease up his leg. Nothing worked. Justin tried to break one of the slats in the back of the chair. After all, a broken chair is much better than a broken leg. That didn’t work either, so Justin ran to get his tools so he’d have better leverage.
The whole time, Gus was screaming and crying at the top of his lungs. My heart really went out to Gus, but the more he struggled and squirmed, the more pressure he put on his leg and thus caused himself more pain.
Justin: I am usually very calm, but listening to Gus in pain has a way of turning my stomach inside out. It is as if I am experiencing the pain myself, in fact, I would rather suffer than watch him suffer.
Sara: Finally, Justin tried to turn one of the slats so perhaps it would break. Instead, it just turned and freed Gus’ leg. Gus was still very upset, so I went to calm him down and then we’d see if he was hurt. Once Gus was finally calmed down, he was running and playing like nothing happened.
As I was holding Gus close, Justin questioned, “Is that blood on your knee, Sara?” Sure enough, it was. I was so concerned for Gus and his well-being, I hadn’t even noticed I was hurt.
Every day, I put Gus’ needs before my own in a million different ways. However, it wasn’t until I felt Gus was in danger that I realized just how much I would prefer myself to be hurt or in pain verses Gus.
Once we realized that Gus was stuck, we did everything in our power to help Gus get out of the mess he unintentionally created for himself. In order to get his leg out, we needed to cause Gus some temporary pain in hopes of saving him from a lot more pain, like a broken leg. The more Gus struggled against our efforts for his well-being, the harder it was to release his leg and the more pain he was causing himself.
So, too, it is with us and our sins. Often, I don’t see my sins causing me or others I love harm. That is probably because at some level, I enjoy my bad habits. However, the harder I work against God’s plan for my life through sin and disobedience, the more pain I ultimately cause myself.
As a child of God, God too must hate to see me needlessly suffer through my sins and bad habits. I’m just grateful He has given us the sacrament of reconciliation so I can right my relationship with Him.