I just got a new kitten, Leia, yesterday and watching her interact with my older cat, Roxy, got me thinking. For those of you who have never experienced having to introduce two animals to each other, let me start by explaining what has taken place in my home so far:
When we first brought Leia home, Roxy hissed and then ran off to hide in the bedroom. Then Roxy tried to attempt to sneak up on Leia, who was still in the carrier. Roxy proceeded to try to show her dominance and her resistance to the situation by hiding in my bedroom and groaning and hissing even at my attempts to pet her, since Leia's scent was on me. It continued on like this for most of the night. My husband and I had to keep them separated while we slept to help protect Roxy and allow her to realize that we still love her despite bringing home a new kitten, which may have appeared to Roxy as if we were trying to replace her. Today, the two cats were very curious about each other, having been separated for the evening. Roxy was still very apprehensive about Leia being in the house this morning and kept to her own for the most part. Leia simply wanted to play but Roxy wouldn't let her come near. Then, my husband and I, had to leave for a few hours to go to our friend's graduation party, so once again we separated the cats.
When we got back we opened the doors and let the cats have another attempt at being around each other. To our surprise, they took to each other fairly well. They took turns smelling each other and romping around the house following each other. They are starting to realize that they have more in common than they thought and that maybe it'd be okay to befriend one another.
Sorry for the lengthy play by play of the cat introduction, but I needed to give you the background for how my thoughts started and now to my thoughts:
So, I was thinking about how animals, cats in particular, go about the acceptance chapter in their lives. It's very similar to how Christians and non-Christians relate. Think about it. Christians, I'm referring to the earnest ones, not the "let's see how many people I can bring to Christ and keep a record book" ones, want to begin relationships with people because that is what Jesus was all about. Non-Christians appear to not want anything to do with Christians as a result of the hypocritical Christians in the world.
For my analogy, I will speak of Christians in comparison to my kitten, Leia and non-Christians in comparison to my cat, Roxy. Just as Roxy was hesitant and very angry about the bringing of Leia into her home, so are many non-Christians when it comes to starting relationships with Christians because the intent is unclear. Over a period of time, curiosity sparks among both types of people. For Christians, the curiosity is in where the other person has come from and why they've chosen the life journey their on and is it possible they might not be as happy as they could be. In this case, they are eager to befriend the non-Christian to show them love and eventually over time, help them to find TRUE happiness as opposed to superficial happiness. Now, in contrast, the non-Christian's curiosities are similar to that of Roxy's: why are you here, are you trying to replace me, am I not good enough, what's wrong with who I am...etc.
Curiosities are good, but you have to nurture the relationship to make sure that the curiosities don't overpower one's intentions. Just as my husband and I have to take careful measures to make sure that we don't leave the two cats alone unattended too early, Christians need to make sure they are trying to have a relationship for the sake of having a relationship with the other person, not to merely witness to them. If this is the case, there will be constant fighting and resistance to any relationship. On the other hand, if the proper care is taken and the relationship is the first priority, with living by example and hoping to help the other find true happiness a second priority, the relationship will grow and develop over time. This is the key: over time. Relationships can't be rushed.
After time has lapsed most likely the non-Christian will begin to take their guard down and begin to seek answers to their curiosity, just as Roxy has done. Eventually, the answers the non-Christian will find won't be as threatening as they had once believed and they will begin placing themselves in more vulnerable situations. This is the beginning of the relationship. The key here is that at the first sign of vulnerability, the Christian still needs to keep their motives pure and get to know the other person before jumping into any type of deep personal issues. Leia is very excited that Roxy is wanting to have anything to do with her, let alone wanting to play with her, but she is being very careful not to break the trust she has built up to this point. Whenever Roxy comes over, Leia flops on her back exposing her belly which, in the animal world, is a total sign of submission. But, another thing that is equally important, over time and as Roxy has become more comfortable with this little sprite in her home, Roxy, too, has begun to roll over and expose her belly showing that the relationship is now two-way and can begin to grow equally on both sides.
Because the proper care and time is being used to develop a relationship between Roxy and Leia, they will most likely grow up to be great buds!!!
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