"You shall know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free"
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Paul Hayden

Is Mickey Mouse a Dog or a Cat?

February 13, 2023

President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt owned a little dog that was always getting into fights and consistently getting the worst of them. On one occasion, his dog tackled a mangy cur and took a beating. Someone said to President Roosevelt, "Your dog isn't much of a fighter." "Oh, yes, he's a good fighter," replied the President, "He's just a poor judge of dogs."

Here are some actual police responses to angry people's statements when they were pulled over for breaking the law. Their answers remind me of Theodore's little dog engaging big dogs more potent than him. For example, "Yes, sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think it will help. Oh, did I mention that I'm the shift supervisor?" Another example of a police response is, "If you run, you'll go to jail tired."

Now, here's an example of someone who chooses their battles wisely. A police recruit was asked during an exam, "What would you do if you had to arrest your mother?" He said, "Call for a backup." There's a recruit who knows how to choose his battles.

The Scripture says in Ecclesiastes 7:9, "Do not be eager in your heart to be angry, for anger rests in the hearts of fools." Someone once said that anger is a wind that blows out the lamp of the mind. Unfortunately, it's easy to get angry too quickly in today's 'short-fused' world. We see things that need changing or don't seem fair to us, and we want them changed and changed now. So be wary. Anger is one letter away from danger. 

Friends, please don't fight every battle or issue you see. You aren't designed for that. If you do, you could become a person of war. It's one thing to be in war; it's another thing for war to be in you. When that happens, you adopt a destructive lifestyle where the end justifies the means. You start down a more dangerous road than a productive road in achieving solutions to our cause or issue. You lose perspective. You blame, demonize, and even break the law to justify your behavior. Then you lose what you are fighting for, becoming more hurt and angrier at everyone. Anger is an acid that can harm the vessel in which it's stored more than anything on which it's poured. 

Remember this truth: People who fight dragons for too long become dragons themselves. What's on the outside of you gets inside of you. Why? What we focus on is what we become. So if you don't like something, and it's not essential or significant, take away its only power: Your attention. By the way, never get angry at somebody who knows more than you. After all, it isn't their fault. 

In her book, Teach Your Team to Fish, Laurie Beth Jones talks about how Jesus chose his battles wisely. "Imagine how Jesus felt when He saw a Roman soldier hit a Jew, watched people spit on prostitutes, or walked past crucified people in Jerusalem. This horror was a regular occurrence. Yet there is no record of Jesus leading any protest marches, overthrowing Roman tyranny, or halting the execution of others. Why not? Didn't He care? Of course, He cared. But Jesus was wise enough to choose His battles, to save His energy for the one battle He could win that would change history forever. It was not because He picked up His sword, but because He laid down His life."

Laurie Beth Jones says that balance, poise, and knowing how and where best to apply pressure while maintaining grace, character, and dignity will ultimately get you closer, in the long run, to where you want to be. 

Here are some questions to ask ourselves. What battles am I fighting currently? Should I be fighting them? What business or calling am I really in? Am I hurting or helping the cause I'm fighting for by my fighting? Am I battling because of some unresolved issue in my life? Am I just opposing myself when I battle and distracting attention from the main point?

A reason I'm writing this article right now is that I'm concerned about the problems we are having with a minimal number of police who are making all other police look evil. It is maddening what has happened in some of our cities. I like you, I am very, very concerned about this.

But remember that God made government the avenger of wrong, not anyone who is offended or some angry crowd. In times like these, there are judges and juries in government that will determine the guilty and give a verdict. What we don't need is someone taking the law into their own hands, who ends up just as guilty as the guilty. Believe me, we don't need more dragons. That's a lose-lose for everyone.

Jesus chose His battles carefully and wisely, and we can too. Otherwise, we become just another poor judge of dogs. Remember, anger not transformed is anger transferred. Unfortunately, mangy curs seem to thrive on that.

Here's the officer's final question to us: Is Mickey Mouse a dog or a cat?

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Ed Delph is a leader in church-community connections.
Visit Ed Delph's website at www.nationstrategy.com