When we lived in Houston, this black border-collie mix came up one day. He was a stray. The boys begged me to keep him and they named him “Charlie.” So Charlie started hanging out around our house. Charlie was full grown by the time we got him and his real name obviously was not “Charlie.” And he didn’t understand our commands. He dug up every flower in the back yard. He chased everything that moved. And he didn’t understand any of the rules.
We lived in a new neighborhood under construction. In Houston, they use a lot of Hispanic labor. Mexican vendors would drive through the neighborhoods with fresh tortillas or tamales for the workers. It wasn’t uncommon to see Charlie come running around the corner with a taco in his mouth. He’d stolen it from one of the workers.
In the city they are really strict about dogs and such. People would come down the street on the sidewalks walking their miniature poodles. Charlie would take off after the poor mutt growling and snarling. I would run behind him yelling, “Charlie, stop! Charlie, NO!”
The person would look at me like, “Why can’t you control your dog?” I would smile and say, “His name’s not really Charlie!” Then they would look at me with this odd expression like, “So why are you calling him that?”
“Actually, he’s not my dog.”
“So why did he come barreling out of your back yard and why are you chasing him?”
Who in their right mind chases a dog that doesn’t belong to him calling him a name that isn’t his!?
Here’s the principle I suddenly learned. We only discipline that which belongs to us. I don’t try to train my neighbor’s dog. Or his children. So here’s the good news. Maybe you are going through a tough time right now. It’s apparent that God is disciplining you. I know its painful, but consider this. The fact that you are being disciplined proves that you belong to him!
My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him, for those whom the Lord loves, He disciplines. (Hebrews 12:5-6)
God doesn’t discipline strays.
That’s the good news, now have a great day.