Like a dog that returns to his vomit is a fool who repeats his folly. Proverbs 26:11
Vomit is gross. Our dog keeps eating something in the yard and then comes inside and vomits. I AM SO TIRED OF CLEANING UP VOMIT!
But just like my dog, I consume stuff that I shouldn't. We both keep going back to the things that aren't healthy for us. Like my dog, I sometimes even return to the vomit and eat it! Ha! That sounds so gross, but let me explain.
Dog's eat their vomit sometimes because it smells interesting or even good to them. They can see it as food.
But it's interesting to me that most people and pastors talk about this verse in Proverbs, about returning to your vomit, as if the vomit is the sin. I've heard countless sermons implying that the vomit is the porn or doubt or actual sin that you keep returning too. But puking isn't a sin.
Throwing up is the way your body tries to get the bad stuff out and save you from more pain. Your body causing you to ralph is actually it helping you. Also no one I know actually eats it. Most people are that smart at least...probably not.
But we can metaphorically eat it. Sometimes we want to stay sick. Sometimes the things we do, that we might call sin, we hold onto or eat. We often can sin and then keep the shame, pain, guilt, or fear. We return to the vomit.
Guilt, shame, and self loathing are vomit. We do something that is unhealthy and then we live in the shame of it. We feel like we are sinners and deserve to eat the vomit. We are bad and we should be treated badly.
But that's not true. Eating barf doesn't help a damn thing. I'll give you an example.
Some people with anger issues, often point that anger towards themselves. They take the anger and ingest it to hurt themselves. They have even been taught to live in the guilt and the shame rather than working on actually purging it.
The reason is that self loathing, like a dog smelling and eating their vomit, is filling and easy. The vomit is just there and the dog eats it.
It's easy for us humans to be unhealthy and hate ourselves for it. It's harder to forgive ourselves and to get healthy. It's really unfortunate, but it's easier to hate yourself than to love yourself.
That's why we eat the vomit. We know our faults and sins and so we feed them. We feed them with shame and pain. So it's not the vomit that we return to. It's what we think of ourselves and how we punish ourselves that we actually go back and ingest.
If you live in shame you become a shameful person. If you live in regret and self pity then you don't get healthy.
What vomit are you eating?
The vomit I often like to eat is laziness. I avoid things because I tell myself I've screwed it up before and I think I can't do it or someone else is better at it. But then I feel guilty, lazy, and unfulfilled. When I push past those feelings and don't take a bite, I feel so much better. But it's hard in the moment not to want to be selfish. It's easier to eat vomit than we think.