Old Dogs

Wendell Johnson once said, “To a mouse, cheese is cheese. That’s why mousetraps are effective.” Change is hard. Especially if you have been doing something the same way for years… and it works; or at least it has worked up until now. But when, with some new tidbit of information, you realize the old “tried-n-true” won’t suffice, what do you do?

I can sympathize with many who have developed habits or viewpoints over the years and find it hard to change. I can also understand (but not justify) people who don’t want to change in the face of facts contrary to what they have “always known.” This is the situation we are looking at when an entrenched doctrinal conviction, creed or confidence has been a part of our life “since dirt,” and then is obliterated by a book-chapter-verse. Change is hard, regardless of the facts.

I occasionally hear the cliché, “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick.” Now, I am not sure whether I am to believe from this statement that a dog just gets stupid over time or someone is really just smart enough to use this totally illogical adage as a cover for laziness or apathy. Personally, I don’t buy it. The ability of the human to reason is unique amongst God’s creation, sometimes very unique! People often offer “reasons” to continue to hold their false beliefs because the convictions are comfortable, cozy and convenient, not because they are reasonable. J. H. Robinson correctly stated, “Most of our so-called reason consists of finding reasons to go on believing as we already do.”

When a person is unwilling to change a “pet belief,” they are silently saying at least one of two things: [1] “I wish to be unreasonable, ignore the truth and remain wrong,” or [2] “I do not think truth can withstand scrutiny.” One is an expression of rebellion, the other a lack of faith… and both damnable (2 Thessalonians 1:8).

To “bow your neck” (sklerotrachelos: hardnaped, i.e. (fig.) obstinate: –stiff-necked, Cf. Acts 7:51) in the face of reason is to place your soul in jeopardy. Do not fear the inquiry, inspection or investigation of the truth. It will endure critical regard. Neither God nor His Word changes (Malachi 3:6, Hebrews 13:8) but we should. As we grow and mature, our lives should be transformed (changed) into a life identical to our Savior’s (Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Peter 2:2; 3:18).

And change is hard… but not impossible (Philippians 4:13). I would not speak for others but this ol’ dog can learn a trick or two.