1 Thessalonians 5:22 - Abstain from every form of evil.
Some ideas are good ideas, and some are not. This devotion focuses on ideas which were terrible.
Back when I was serving a number of congregations in South Dakota, my duties took me through Wind Cave National Park. It was usually a great drive made memorable by occasional encounters with bison, deer, elk, and all manner of smaller beasties.
On one occasion, Pam and I stopped to watch some bison which were grazing close to the road.
As we watched, a crowd of visitors began to form. Most obeyed the posted rules to stay in their cars; one man did not feel that rule applied to him. Boldly, he walked toward the closest bison, took his four-year-old girl in his arms, and began to throw her onto the animal, so he could get a picture.
He was stopped only because another man came running up to him with shouted screams of warning.
That memory came back to me this past week when I read of a man from India whose name is Bhatara. One day, when he was out with his friends, Bhatara spotted a bear lying alongside the road. All appearances said the bear had been killed, probably from an encounter with a large truck. As I said, Bhatara believed the beast to be dead, and he was pretty proud of himself when he pulled the car over.
He told his friends he wanted to take a selfie with the beast.
His friends tried to dissuade him, but he was not about to back down. He wanted that photo and he wanted it badly. Boldly, Bhatara approached the "dead" bear. Of course, by now you know the bear was not dead. On the other hand, it had been wounded, and there's nothing more dangerous than a bear who is in pain.
Oh, there is another thing the bear was: he was sure he didn't want any more contact with humans. That is why, when he sensed Bhatara was coming up on him, the bruin launched a full-scale attack.
By the time the police arrived and tranquilized the bear, Bhatara was already dead, which all goes to prove it doesn't make any difference: wild bears or bison -- it's a terrible idea to try and take a selfie with them.
Would you like another terrible idea? This terrible idea is revealed anytime someone wants to know "How close can I get to a sin without being punished?" The person who drives at 69 mph in a 65 mph zone is asking that question. The teen who wants to know "How far can I go on a date before I sin?" is asking that question. The individual who pushes his tax deductions past being justifiable is thinking about that question.
It' a terrible idea to flirt with the sins which the Savior came to remove. It is a terrible idea because flirting with sin can lead to a successful temptation. It's a bad idea because it brings dishonor to the Savior. And that, my friends, is something we do not want to do. Jesus has done all which was necessary for us to be forgiven and saved. Now it behooves us to thank and praise, serve and obey Him.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, grant that I may do my best to avoid sin. Remove its enticements to us, allow us to live in a period of peace and hope for all parties concerned. This I ask in the Savior's Name. Amen.
The above devotion was inspired by a number of sources, including one written by Matthew Diebel for USA Today on May 7, 2018. Those who wish to reference that article may do so at the following link, which was fully functional at the time this devotion was written: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/05/07/bear-mauls-death-indian-man-who-tried-take-selfie/585843002/
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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