Well, of course, I have the cutest, smartest cat ever, so, though it took some time, Joy was able to become fully potty-trained. Along the way though, she would have an occasional accident. At first, I would punish her, but then I learned to use positive reinforcement, and soon, she was not having as many accidents. Today, I came home and out of nowhere (I mean it has been at least six months), she had obviously had an accident. I know this is kind of gross, but go with me for a minute. I was not happy, but I did not punish her; I cleaned her mess and I did not give her a treat because she did not do what she knows to do.
Right now, she is laying on my lap. She is not mad at me; actually, she is closer to me than she usually is when I get home from work. Why am I telling you about a potty-trained cat? Because, we, human beings, have a sinful nature. That is what we are hard-wired to do. However, once we let God into our lives, we are prepared and pruned until we learn to live a new kind of life. We develop a cleaner way of living. Yet, those old, natural habits are still there. And, if we are not careful, we may slip back into our old way of living; not permanently per se, but just for a moment.
In those times, it has been my experience that God does not necessarily punish me, but He does not reward my bad behavior either. He lovingly corrects me, which draws me closer to Him. When we mess up, that is not the time to run from God; when old habits are beating down your door, that is the perfect time to run closer to Him. That is the time to hide in the safety of His arms, admit what you have done, and accept His mercy and forgiveness. Then, you can lay with your head in His lap of love and move forward in His plan for your life. You can learn a lot from a cat. Ms. EV