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Lessons From Animals--"Sin"

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Romans 6:23


In my last article, I noted that one of my cats, Squawker, briefly joined another family--and then had to return. There is a (literally) convoluted story behind that statement.

For weeks I had been pleading for someone to take the cats. I had a home for the dogs, but not the cats. And I was so pleased when a family in the church agreed to take Squawker. Not that I was pleased about losing Squawker--I was relieved that he had a home with a good family.

It was a family, though, that included another cat--and this turned out to be a problem. In my naiveté, I had desperately hoped Squawker would learn to get along, but I should have known better. Squawker has always been the scrapper of my two cats, and so naturally he was not going to be happy about moving into a strange home with a strange cat. In hindsight, Sneezy would have been the better match for the family, for Sneezy is always willing to make new friends (interesting side-story: during the few days that Squawker was gone, another cat took up residence in my garage, to get out of the rain. Sneezy's reaction: "Hey, a new friend!" The other cat was less than pleased).

The family tried their best, but they finally surrendered to the inevitable: Squawker simply wasn't going to settle in. They called me, and I agreed to come pick him up. I was not in a favorable mood towards Squawker when I arrived. He didn't understand what was happening, but I was trying to give him a chance at life. At that time, I had no other alternatives.

Yet, still it got worse.

You can't see me--I'm HIDINGMoments before I arrived at the house, Squawker ducked into a hole in the wall in their attic. Behind the wall was a corridor, which he followed to the front side of the house. He took a left, followed that corridor along the front of the house, then took another left--following the corridor there. He was now on the opposite side of the house, and could not see where he had come from. When I got to the attic and called his name, he heard me--but couldn't figure out how to get out of the wall! I tried desperately (and with mounting frustration) to get him to retrace his steps…but now, every time he got to the front of the house, he wouldn't complete the journey--he would turn around and walk back, away from the hole (and his escape). Finally, the family decided there was only one solution: cut a new hole in the wall. That's right; cut a new hole in the wall of their attic, so my cat could get out. It was embarrassing, and frustrating. If only Squawker had just stayed away from the hole.

Of course, how many times do you think God has said that about me and you? "If only they had stayed away…" There's a reason God advises--no, commands--us against sin: He does it for our own good. Sin is very much like that hole in the wall; it doesn't look so bad, until we suddenly can't figure out how to escape. The first part of Isaiah 53:6 says, "We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way."

So how does God rescue us? The second part of that verse says, "…and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." Who is the "him" in this verse? It is a prophecy of Jesus Christ. God had to, essentially, cut a hole in history: the opening verses of the Gospel of John (1:1 and 1:14) tell us, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us." Jesus Christ came to earth to free us from that hole of sin. Paul tells us in Romans 3:23 - 24, "…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus."

The bad news is that we've gone down a hole and gotten ourselves lost--and we simply cannot find our way out. We may even hear God calling, but don't know how to get to Him. The good news, then, is that God's love and concern for us is such that He cuts a hole in the wall--He gets out. Titus 3:4 - 5a says, "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of His mercy."

Squawker is safe and sound in his new home, reunited with his lifelong friend Sneezy (indeed, the one and only cat he doesn't try to chase away). He still finds himself in odd troubles (more on this another time), but in this respect he is like his Daddy--and, indeed, all humanity. We continue to find new holes. We continue to get stuck. The good news is, God continues to save us.


In Christ,


--Pastor Dan


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