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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Don't Yank a Dog's Ear!

by Daniel LaFlair

My first year of high school, I became the first Seventh-day Adventist in my family. My younger brother and I grew up very close and did a lot together, but after my baptism I attended more church functions and hung out with friends in that environment, while he sought out other environments and different friends. After I left for college, he told my mother, “He’s changed!”

He blamed our drift on my new friends. Some time later, my mom shared his words, hoping I’d try to rebuild our lost brotherly friendship and not hang out so much with my friends. I took her words to heart and felt a little bit guilty, but knew it wasn’t that simple. The real issue was that he and I no longer shared common desires or interests.

Fast-forward to years later, a friend my wife hadn’t seen in years sent her a note. They, too, were close at one time, but similarly, life caused them to drift apart. This past friend heard some misinformation. The friend then took it upon themselves to out-of-the-blue send my wife a chastising note with these words, “It made me feel sad to hear how you have changed.”

No letter of inquiry, no friendly call to ask my wife if it was the truth—just a self-admitted judgment and a reprimand insisting my wife think on the wise counsel offered.

I remember thinking that my high school friends and I would always be friends and that things would remain the same. Many of us even said those words as we parted the final day of high school. I planned out that our children would grow up next door to each other and call them “uncle.”

But, I’ve learned life’s not always that simple. The reality is that some people leave the church and friendships fall apart. Other friends move to other states or even other countries. Also, when people are grounded in the Word of God and have a deep, personal relationship with Christ, change is inevitable. Even in the Bible, “Jesus answered him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God’ ” (John 3:3, ESV).[i] In other words, unless we change, seek, and love the things of heaven and not the world, we will not be able to enter heaven. Not only that, we wouldn’t even want to.

Yes, there are bad changes that can take place, but good changes are what we need. Without change, things mold and stagnate: water, sheets . . . hearts. Every parent knows that having children changes them. Before mine were born, I remember telling my sister that my children would never misbehave or disobey me like hers did. I also said that the inside of my car would always stay clean. Boy, was I ever in for a wake-up call! Children brought many changes to my marriage, and my wife and I adapted. If not, I might have lost my mind.

My wife and I are now several decades away from being teenagers. Many things (marriage, children, age, jobs, God, and life) have influenced and changed us for the better . . . I hope. We’ve grown into the people we now are. Like a homely caterpillar changing into a beautiful butterfly, we will continue to grow in Christ and become more like Him. I’ve advised many of my friends throughout the years that “if we learn from life’s experiences and use it to grow closer to Christ and become better people, life will be more fulfilling and happy. But when we don’t learn or grow, we become bitter and miserable.”

That experience with my wife’s friend was another that brought change to my life. “In everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you, for this is the Law and the Prophets,” (Matthew 7:12, NASB)[ii] will be my motto. From now on, I will make every effort to not prejudge. If news of a friend reaches me, I will be sure to call, let them know I heard something, inquire about the situation, and fully listen. But lest we forget, there is another wise Bible principle to follow: “Interfering in someone else’s argument is as foolish as yanking a dog’s ears” (Proverbs 26:17, NLT).[iii] Be careful . . . you never know if it will turn its head and bite you!



Daniel LaFlair is a freelance writer and an organic gardener. He writes from Ringgold, Georgia, where he lives with his wife and children. He attends East Ridge SDA Church.

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