Some sins are blatant and appalled by all, but others seem to be much more tolerated, perhaps even welcomed. Until we see the destruction they cause. Unchecked, these sorts of pests tend to multiply as one white lie bleeds into another, one casually spoken gossip expands to a story, and that pride that, initially, went unnoticed, grows to dominating proportions, soon destroying friendships and hurting those we love.
Sin, big and small, hidden and seen, infects and destroys. But as my guest today shares, our lives and relationships don’t have to be casualties in our battle against sin. There are steps we can take to find and maintain victory.
Creeping, Pestering Sins
by Amy Anguish
I was sitting here, pondering what wisdom I could possibly impart to help someone else with her life when mine isn’t always perfect. And then I saw it.
Funny thing. I actually had a pet mouse when I was in high school. That’s when I discovered how cute they are. Awe. I was like Cinderella – you know, minus the whole evil step-family and slaving away during the day thing.
But undomesticated mice are a different story. They aren’t quiet, clean, and don’t ask if they can share your food first. They just rip a corner off the package and dive in—literally. And when they die under a refrigerator they stink worse than my son’s diapers.
We have our fifth mouse in two months. We’ve disposed of at least four so far. We’ve tried three different kinds of traps. Evidently, they talk to each other, because each trap only works once. We have the wavelength emitters in our plugs that are supposed to discourage the beasts from coming in, but at this point am beginning to doubt anything will work.
I think I found the hole they’re coming in through this afternoon. As long as that opening remains, more will come, no matter how many we exterminate. It’s inevitable. We’re in a quiet neighborhood with trees nearby so there will be mice. But if we can close off how they get from the crawlspace to inside … that’s going to be the cure.
Sin is similar. I can trap and evict things like worry, gossip, anger, hate, or jealousy but if I don’t “stop up the hole” where they’re coming in, I’ll have to do it all again. Now, I know I can’t just plug up my head and keep bad things out of it. But I can avoid the places and entertainment and spending extensive time with friends who are prone to using such things. And I can spend more time engaging in better things and interacting with more encouraging people.
It’s like the story Jesus told in Matthew chapter 12 about the house swept clean: “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, but finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when it comes, it finds the house empty, swept, and put in order. Then it goes and brings with it seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there, and the last state of that person is worse than the first.” Matthew 12:43-45 (ESV)*
So, let’s take Paul’s advice in the letter he wrote to the Philippians: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8,9 (ESV)
So, maybe I don’t want to be Cinderella, having mice live in my home. Instead, in my house and my life, I think it’s time to plug up some holes and keep the nasty little buggers out.
Let’s talk about this! Do you have a “rodent” problem? What kinds of holes are letting bad things into your life? Share your thoughts and stories–and your sin-exterminating tips–in the comments below, because we can all learn from and encourage one another.
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Amy Anguish grew up a preacher’s kid, and in spite of having lived in seven different states that are all south of the Mason Dixon line, she is not a football fan. Currently, she resides in Tennessee with her husband, daughter, and son, and usually a cat or two. Amy graduated with a degree in English from Freed-Hardeman University and hopes in all her creative endeavors to glorify God, but especially in her writing. She wants her stories to show that while Christians face real struggles, it can still work out for good.
Check out her book!
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When Chad Manning introduces himself to Jessica Garcia at her favorite smoothie shop, it’s like he stepped out of one of her romance novels. But as she tentatively walks into a relationship with this man of her dreams, secrets from their past threaten to shatter their already fragile bond. Chad and Jessica must struggle to figure out if their relationship has a chance or if there is nothing between them but a love of smoothies.
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The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®). ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. The ESV® text has been reproduced in cooperation with and by permission of Good News Publishers. Unauthorized reproduction of this publication is prohibited. All rights reserved.