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How the enemy exploits compassion

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Recently I was listening to a dog trainer who was counseling a lady who had a Sheltie that always barked. The lady, who was a teacher of 30 7th graders, already had a Sheltie that was well behaved but when she brought the new dog into her life it turned her life upside down. The dog was a rescue dog AND SHE FELT SORRY FOR IT. So sorry she didn't exert any control over the dog and he was allowed to have his fits. She could control her 30 junior high students, but not this one little dog. The dog trainer explained the dog misunderstood her bleeding heart as weakness and the dog had taken over as the leader in the house. The dog had to have his authority questioned and become submissive to his owner for peace to reign in the house. The teacher was in her 30's I'd say, a nice attractive lady, but she had trouble with her boyfriends too because she always picked men who needed help and she ended up getting hurt.

Listening to this trainer, I got some insight. I thought of a young man who lived with my family 3 months. We had felt sorry for him because his former employers had not paid him, kicked him out of his housing and sneaked into the area where he was sleeping and beat him up. I was actually away from home doing praise and worship at a church a few days when this young man and his dog and cat came to live with us. At first everything seemed to be fine, but I noticed he made more and more demands. He was already getting free food and rent; he wanted garage space too. I said no and WW3 started. Looking back at our conversation I realize now he was trying to get me to feel sorry for him. Instead, I told him I didn't really care about his past. I needed him to live in the present and be responsible and live up to agreements he made with us. If he could afford an $800 tattoo he could certainly afford to feed his dog and cat. Well, he didn't like this and went behind my back and tried to get my husband and son to side with him. Things went from bad to worse. He continued to push the boundaries. One night he borrowed a vehicle to go pick up his girlfriend from the train station and didn't come back until 5:30 in the morning. I told him he had to find another place to stay. He told me he'd be out the next day but he wasn't. I confronted him about that too. When he finally did move out, the cops caught up with him for slashing somebody's tires.

So what happened? I've had other young men live with my family and I, but with them, we all knew our boundaries from the beginning. We drew up a contract they signed before they even moved in. This was different because I was not even in the picture in the beginning and my husband and son didn't set any boundaries. Then to top it all off, we felt sorry for the young man and he read this as weakness and tried to take advantage of it. It made things worse when he felt he wasn't fighting a united front he tried to use persuasion to get my family to side against me. The result was a broken relationship. This is unfortunate, but I do know I've learned some valuable lessons.

As Christians we are supposed to have compassion on people. But you'll notice when Jesus had compassion on people, he healed them. He didn't allow them to control him, he didn't let them stay in their current state. He healed them. When we feel sorry for somebody we are actually very vulnerable. Con artists know this. It's time we as Christians learn this too. I've seen sooooo many people, good-hearted people with the best intentions, get taken advantage of because the enemy takes advantage of their tender hearts. We need to be wise of the enemy's tactics, not unaware of his schemes.

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