Dog lovers may just love this picture of sin
It was a dark and chilly morning, and my cat apparently found my red fleece robe as comforting as I did. As I sat in the rocking chair to read the Bible passages for the day, she jump onto my lap. But instead of hunkering down for a nice massage or nap, she began kneading the red robe where it covered my bare left thigh.
Knowing that kneading is one way a cat shows love and contentment, I allowed it. I petted and she purred, repeatedly pressing her paws, claws extended, into my leg. The robe wasn’t thick enough to protect my skin from her sharp nails. When this old tabby cat finally jumped off my lap, she left behind a pattern of polka dots, a good 18 square inches of damaged flesh.
When I saw the wounds, I thought some medical intervention was necessary. So multiple times as I read, I sprayed hydrogen peroxide onto the area and watched as foaming white caps topped 12 of the pinpoint punctures. Even those not reacting to the spray were pink and raised. Maybe my choice of a dress ending several inches above my knees wasn’t the best choice for the workday?
As I looked at the area, I realized how foolish I was to have allowed her to dig her claws into me while I petted her. Of course, I hadn’t recognized how much damage she would leave behind.
The parallels to sin
It reminds me of sin — or chocolate or ice cream or fast food.
I welcome it into my lap (or mouth), even savor the experience, even while knowing it does its damage. I let it get its claws in me, and I am left with marks prone to infection (or extra calories that turn to fat or cravings that make me want more and more).
Even later, as I sat journaling, this lightweight, beautiful ball of fur tried to shimmy her way back into my lap. Only my well-placed elbows blocked her attempts. My efforts to prevent her return were motivated by my full awareness that, pretty and innocuous as she seems, she would do more damage if I gave her the opportunity.
The Apostle Peter may have described Satan as a “roaring lion seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8, KJV), but our enemy is likely to snuggle close to us in a form we’re less likely to suspect, much like this soft, affectionate cat who wants to be in my lap.
“I put some truth in every lie,” songwriter and singer Keith Green wrote in his song about Satan’s boast, “No One Believes in Me Anymore.” I believe Satan does that. That proverbial “wolf in sheep’s clothing” will deceive us any way he can.
When the consequences fade
Later that day, perhaps because I was so quick to treat the scratches and punctures my loving cat left behind, I noticed how they had faded. I was thankful, of course, because I hadn’t changed my intended wardrobe for the day and my dress exposed the area.
But would their quick disappearance make me forget my determination to stop my cat from kneading her claws into me again? Would it make me consider the consequences of sin fleeting and of little consequence? So I would entertain it again? And again?
Or was their disappearance a picture of how God removes our sin “as far as the east is from the west,” the Psalmist wrote (Psalm 103:12, NASB)? Because He is gracious to do so, my friend. Here is that phrase from the Psalm in context:
He has not dealt with us according to our sins,
Nor rewarded us according to our guilty deeds.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him.
As far as the east is from the west,
So far has He removed our wrongdoings from us.
Just as a father has compassion on his children,Psalm 103:8-13, NASB
So the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him.
By God’s grace, I escape repeated dances with this devil and instead see the disappearance of her claw prints a picture of His mercy. Christ’s death on the cross washes away my sin and presents me to God flawless and righteous. Not my own righteousness. His righteousness.
That same day my cat presented the analogy, a friend shared her weight struggles with me that seemed in perfect alignment.
“I stress eat. I know what I’m doing isn’t good, but I do it anyway,” she confided. “If only the consequences of eating junk appeared immediately! Then I might stop before I do damage.”
Ah, isn’t that part of the deceitfulness of sin? It poses as a sweet kitty and cozies up to us — and then leaves us wounded and marked. And maybe leaves others wounded and scarred by our sin, too. Sin doesn’t advertise its consequences.
My friend, let’s keep the cat out of our laps!
(I can imagine that any cat haters will LOVE this post, and cat lovers will wonder why I didn’t declaw or at least clip the nails of my cat. Me, too. But, my, what a great analogy we might have missed if I had!)
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