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Tyranny of Temptation

Updated: Oct 6, 2021

Years ago, we moved to a new home in the country. Well, it wasn’t exactly far removed, but it was country living compared to our previous home and neighborhood. To welcome us, we had some critters come visit our garage. Not my idea of the welcome wagon, but they came anyway, so we were forced to take action.

After a few squeals from certain members of the household, my husband sighed and proceeded to the local home improvement store. He returned with some mouse traps. Now, keep in mind that he’s of the general mentality that if one is good, fifteen is even better. While I thought it was a bit excessive, at least he took his job as mouse hunter seriously.

However, now the garage was effectively booby trapped with a plethora of mouse traps. We still had boxes to sort and unpack, but I was afraid to walk anywhere in the garage to accomplish the task. Likewise, I warned the kids of the dangers of letting our beloved (but mischievous) dog, Duke, out there. We were vigilant with keeping an eye on the dog and remembering to close all doors – something that seemed challenging at the time for three kids ages four to eleven. I kept reminding them that we moved to a house in the country, not a barn in the country, but it was a daily challenge.

On the first night of mouse warfare, we experienced success. I’ll spare you the details, but Mickey (and friends) were now gone. Night two, not a creature was stirring. And so, by night three, I was ready to declare victory and remove the traps. But, what if others come? I didn’t want it to get out of hand, but it would be impossible to keep the dog out of the garage and away from the peanut butter laden traps for an extended period of time. Someone would surely forget about the importance of closed doors.

Then, in my brilliance, I spotted the answer. Our dog crate, which the dog boycotted long before, was now in the garage. I decided I would collect the throng of traps, place them in the crate, and secure them inside – mice could get to the traps if they returned, but the dog could not. Each morning, I’d check and was always relieved that we hadn’t caught anything.

The plan was working. Or so I thought.

The next afternoon, ear piercing screams echoed from the garage. My 8-year-old daughter was pleading for me to come. She stood, gasping for breath, pointing at the crate. Much to my amazement, there sat our dog – inside the crate with all the loaded mouse traps, trying to help himself to a snack of peanut butter. I somehow extracted him and his nose wasn’t shredded by the traps. I’m still not sure how he managed to get into the locked crate or how he managed to not get snapped by one of traps. Thankfully, all ended well.

I wish I’d had time to capture a picture of him sitting in the crate with all the mouse traps. It’s a perfect picture of how we live life sometimes. We have so many freedoms in Christ, yet, we tend to find the one place that’s out of bounds and try to park ourselves there. He had the freedom to go anywhere in our house and expansive yard. He had an abundance of love and food and toys and warm beds. Yet, he fell to the temptation of the smear of peanut butter and was barely spared from damaging consequences.

What are you tempted by today? I pray that we’ll focus on the many freedoms that we have and run from the cage of temptation. We might not be as lucky as my dog, Duke, and instead experience the pain and burn when the temptation bites back.

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