Right before Christmas our Labrador got to meet our friends’ Corgi puppy for the first time. The differences between these two dogs was glaringly obvious from the start.
One is an energetic puppy and the other a mellowed, fully matured adult.
One has short legs with a rolly-polly belly while the other is tall and lanky.
One is still a lightweight in size while the other is a comparable heavyweight.
One is driven by herding instincts and the other by retrieving instincts
One had only ever known its littermates and mother while the other has interacted with dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds.
As to be expected these differences led to some misunderstandings. After all the “get to know you” sniffs were over, Adi got a rope toy and offered it to Gwenny, the puppy. The Corgi sniffed the toy then raced around to Adi’s hind end. She proceeded to make every effort to herd Adi in the direction she wanted. Adi responded by wheeling around and giving the play bow in hopes of engaging her in a game of Labrador chase. Gwenny ignored this Labby invitation and raced behind Adi again. Thinking she wasn’t interested in playing, Adi abandoned Gwenny and came over to hang out with the humans. With nothing to herd, the Corgi wandered off to explore the yard with her nose.
Later, the puppy slowly walked up to Adi’s front end. Mistaking this as an overture of play, Adi invited her into a wrestling match by batting her body with a paw. Poor Gwenny! The large paw sent her tumbling. Thinking she had just received a canine reprimand, she retreated behind her human. Adi in turn walked away and lay down. Slowly, the Corgi approached Adi again. This time our Lab congenially lay still while the puppy sniffed her and then began to dance around her like a boxer before racing away and back again. Every so often Gwenny would pause and intently look Adi in the eyes.
Gwenny and Adi have met again several times since that first encounter. When they’re together, there are certain things that aren’t taking place. They aren’t “bark-arguing” about which group of dogs is better- the retrievers or the herders. One is not “growl-ping” that the other is a young “pup-start” while the other “growl-plains” that old dogs can’t learn new tricks. Rather, they both put forth the effort to understand the other and establish some canine comradery. Why do these dogs work so hard to resolve their differences? Because they share two commonalities which far outweigh their many differences. Both dogs value canine companionship, and both dogs love to play.
As I reflect on Adi and Gwenny’s interactions, I find this Lab and Corgi have a lesson to teach us on resolving differences. The year 2020 was a turbulent year filled with divisive issues. Close relationships between family and friends have been badly fractured by differing opinions on political policies or pandemic precautions (to name a few). Sadly, these same things are also dividing Christians.
If two dogs can look beyond their differences and find common ground, so can we, especially when both people love Jesus Christ. In Jesus, we share the common groundwork of truth laid by God’s Word on which to walk through issues together. Our faith in Him, as our Lord and Savior, also knits us together with the common thread of purpose- love God and love people. Through Jesus, relationships can be reestablished, healing can take place.
Maybe you are walking through 2021 with a relationship that was fractured by the events of 2020. If so, I encourage you to look to the Lord for help. I also offer you this prayer.
Heavenly Father, you are the God who gives endurance and encouragement. Give us a spirit of unity as we follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth we may glorify You and our Lord Jesus Christ. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen [Based on Romans 15:5-6]
“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with on another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit- just as you were called- one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.”Ephesians 4:2-6
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