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Values as Pets

Everyone has a pet value. We feed it and fiercely protect it against other pet values, which often bark or sniff or growl. We take it around on a leash and hope others will admire it or pet it or appreciate it. And we believe that in a pet show, our value would win the others.

There's the pet Goodness also known as glory. This pet demands that everything be done with excellence. No half-baked attempts. No sub-par achievements. Everything must be good or else prove they're progressing towards goodness. This pet usually barks at mistakes or anything that doesn't look perfect. 

There's the pet Peace also known as inner equilibrium or contentment. This sort doesn't let circumstances or emotions disturb them. Nothing gets to them or moves them. This pet will run and hide from obligation or confrontations.

Then there's Foresight also known as trust or loyalty. This pet maps out the daily route and considers every conceivable possibility. Their certainty and loyalty rests on the reliability of their sources. They yelp at sudden turn-of-events and decisions with unknown variables. 

 There's Love, an affectionate pet, also known as gentleness or compassion. This pet will go without eating for days for the sake of serving his master. They are the hard workers and the ones who care for the wounded. But they are susceptible to abuse because they don't say no, and they frequently snap at any hand that wants to help. 

There's Self-control or freedom, which knows its own strength and limits and uses its power to pull the heaviest loads and most daunting tasks. It will bite the head off the slightest whiff of leashes or cages or walls.

There's Understanding or wisdom, my personal favorite. I keep my pet in a quiet room and feed it non-stop with various bits of information and truths and perspectives. This pet, however, freezes like a deer in the headlights at sudden passions and demands upon its energy and time.

There's Truth, which we often call authenticity or honesty. It is the most beautiful of the pets for it ekes depth and meaning out of everything. It doesn't care if it looks different than the others. Different is good. But if you give it mundane pet food or if it sees other radiant pets, it will sit in its bed and refuse to eat or drink for days.

There's righteousness or perfection, a proper upright pet. Always doing what it ought. Above reproach. Above criticism. Above everyone actually but utterly reliable. It snarls and nips at anyone and anything that doesn't step to the right beat.

Finally there's joy or contentment. A fun-loving rather hyper creature with a taste for just about anything. It will always take the owner down the most pleasantest paths and among the cheeriest of company. It will refuse to travel down dark roads for very long, or if it does it will keep its eyes fixed on the brilliant blue sky to avoid seeing darkness. 

Everyone has a pet whether they realize it or not. They are good but they create conflict among us, especially when our pets feel intimidated or threatened or not-appreciated by others. It happens naturally in the pet-value world. Pets want to have a pecking order. They're like chickens actually. One value wants to have the others serve it or submit to it or worship it. In this, each pet wants to become its own god. 

The only way to prevent that pet from taking over is to acknowledge that it is only a pet and not the master. It is good in its own way because it is from God and it is a gift. But it's not the master. It doesn't have to be one who decides what you ought to do or how to treat others. It gives you a sense of security or love or power for a season but it cannot meet that need ultimately.

Nothing but a relationship with the Lord, who orders all the pets to perform at the right time, can put our pet-values in their proper place and release us from demanding that others acknowledge or admire or love or respect us.

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