A Cat Named Monkey

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for furry little animals that need a home. Whether it is a dog’s tail wagging happily as she takes me for a walk (yes, you read that correctly, takes me!), or if it is the soothing sound of a cat purring as he lays beside me on the sofa, I am a pushover for these friendly creatures that God put on this earth. I guess you could say the real testament to my love for animals would be the fact that I currently have three cats, a dog, a rabbit, and two pygmy goats. There’s just something unexplainably wonderful about a four-legged animal that snuggles up against me and loves me unconditionally, no matter what.

It was just a couple of years ago that my youngest cat came to live with us. I adopted this particular cat when he was barely even weaned from his mother. The previous owner could not support all of the kittens in the litter and decided to go ahead and give them away to the first homes they could find. Just as you suspected, I was one of the first to respond. There was something about this particular kitten’s face that said, “You need me and I need you.” Pretty convincing, since we now have each other!

When we first got this cat, he would climb up the side of everything (even humans!), just like a monkey. And so, the name stuck. “Monkey,” as we affectionately call him, has essentially decided that I am his mother. He presses his head up against my hand, unwilling to back away. He purrs continuously, and like most people, thoroughly enjoys a full body massage. Still, there is one thing that he does not like. He does not like the moment when I must resume my daily responsibilities and leave his company. The moment I walk away from him, he is crushed. I’m telling you the truth! Every time, without fail, he howls in sadness that our “playtime” has ended for now. He just can’t bear the thought of being apart from me, even for a moment. The very notion of being out of my sight is heartbreaking for him.

This evening, as we concluded our daily routine of him pushing against me and me giving him a massage, he howled as I left his sight, just as he had so many times before. As I walked away and listened to his sorrowful cries, I thought of how much our Heavenly Father loves us and just how much He is grieved when one of His children leaves His embrace. Amazingly, though, Jesus continues to love us, whether we acknowledge Him or not. If we spend time with Him, He loves us. And in those times when we’re just “too busy” and do not have time for Him, Jesus Christ never once stops loving us.

Think about it. Jesus Christ loves you and me unconditionally. That means He loves us, no questions asked. He loves every single person on this planet: parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. He loves the drug addict, the alcoholic, the murderer. Jesus Christ does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from, Jesus Christ loves you. When you are running late for work and do not have time to say, “Good morning, Lord,” Jesus still loves you without fail. If you spend your evening watching television, leaving no time for reading His Word, He still loves you. Even if you have gone astray, whether for days, months, or years, Jesus loves you unconditionally, as though you had never even left His side. God’s Word says that there is not one thing in God’s Creation that “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39 ESV). Nothing can come between you and the perfect love of Jesus.

Just like my cat named Monkey, Jesus Christ longs for us to stay at His side, so that we can live a life of true joy that is only found in Him. He loves hearing the voice of His children. He loves embracing us in His fatherly arms. He longs to have us hold his hand as we journey down the road of life, just as a child would hold the hand of their father. Why? Because we are loved by the One who forgives our sins, forgets our past, and forever loves each of us with a fervent, absolute love that has no end.

In Christ’s Love,


Have you ever looked at someone else and thought, “Wow, they sure have a lot of flaws?” Perhaps their social skills were rusty and they talked way too loudly. Or maybe they needed to polish their personal hygiene regimen since it seemed their body odor lingered a mile away. It could be that the person you were examining simply had no ambition, unwilling to do anything productive with their life. Or they could be someone who has been given the gift of a family, yet they take their loved ones for granted. It is always easy to notice someone’s faults. Our tendency to focus on a person’s shortcomings often prevents us from seeing their true potential. Thankfully, God sees the potential in all of us. He looks past our overwhelming flaws and into the depths of our heart.

When I think of the word “flawed,” I think back to a program I recently saw on television titled, The Big Waste. The premise of the show was to reveal how much edible food is wasted in the United States each year. I was saddened to see the vast quantities of food that are thrown away every single day. Farmers leave behind mountains of edible items, produce stands discard anything with a blemish, and grocery stores throw away items even if they are only one day past their date. A few weeks later, I found myself purposefully choosing a not-so-perfect tomato at the grocery store, with the knowledge that it would likely be thrown away if I did not volunteer to take it home with me. But this tomato just had one bad spot and the rest was flawless.

This tomato has a lot in common with you and me. The last time you went to the produce section in the grocery store, were you able to find a perfectly round, spot-free tomato? There are tomatoes with warped shapes, soft spots, and blemishes that come in nearly every color of the rainbow. Finding the perfect tomato is virtually impossible. Just as you will not find the truly “perfect” tomato, you will not find a perfect human being either. Romans 3:23 (NIV) says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” God’s Word doesn’t say that one or two people have sinned. It says that we have all sinned. None of us are perfect. Not one of us is without blemish. All of us have imperfections; all of us are flawed in some way. But because of God’s unmerited favor, He loves us, despite our many flaws.

I am reminded of the woman in the Bible who had committed adultery. She was sentenced to be stoned as a result of her actions. Jesus did not condemn her, but instead, He said to those gathered around her, “‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her’” (John 8:7 NIV). People began, one by one, to walk away. Soon, everyone was gone, except Jesus and this woman. Jesus questioned her, “‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’” (John 8:10 NIV). Upon seeing no one, she told Jesus that no one was there to condemn her. “‘Then neither do I condemn you,’ Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin’” (John 8:11 NIV). You see, Jesus didn’t approve of her actions. But He saw beyond her outward appearance and sinful choices. He knew that she had potential. He knew that she was not past repair. He knew that her imperfections could be erased through the unfailing grace of God.

Are you in a similar situation in your life? Have you done something that you feel is unforgiveable? Maybe you are like the woman who committed adultery, or maybe you are physically or verbally abusing someone else. Or perhaps you lied to a friend, or you may be struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or some other negative influence on your life. It doesn’t matter what you have done. It doesn’t matter where you have been. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you came from. Jesus Christ loves you. He wants you to know that through God’s unmerited favor and everlasting grace, you are loved. You are adored by the Savior of the world, even with your spots, blemishes, and imperfections. Just like each shiny or not-so-shiny red tomato, Jesus created you as a unique, special individual. Sure, you may be flawed, but to God, you are perfect.

In Christ’s Love,