Harmless Becomes Harmful

While running down the trail this morning at the Three Creeks Metropark I saw in the distance what appeared to be a black ball on the side of the trail.  As I got closer, it was clear that the black ball was also fuzzy.  It was a baby raccoon.  He made no attempt to move, and frankly, he looked traumatized.  How cute.  What a harmless little fuzzball.  Even though it is a violation of wildlife laws, you can understand why people pick up these animals, put them in a box, take them home and raise them as pets.  Aside from being illegal, there is a real problem with that.

Gary Richmond, in his book, A View From the Zoo, writes about a young woman named Julie who adopted a baby raccoon.  She was warned that at about 24 months, raccoons undergo a glandular change and often attack their owners.  (To give this perspective, a 30 pound raccoon can beat a 100 pound dog in a fight.)  Julie said, "It will be different for me.  Bandit wouldn’t hurt me, he just wouldn’t."  Three months later Julie underwent surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult pet raccoon attacked her without provocation.

The harmless little baby raccoon is similar to the introduction of sin in our lives.  Things appear to be harmless – and we experiment.  That first harmless drink of alcohol, that first harmless drag on a joint, that first narcotic pill.  It is that first harmless peek at a questionable magazine or web site.  It is like the harmless glance at a physically beautiful member of the opposite sex that so easily becomes a lingering stare.  It is like the first harmless thought of a relationship with someone other than our spouse.  How can it be more plain?  That harmless, traumatized little racoon on the trail WILL grow up to be a wild animal.  He looks cute now, but who wants to be anywhere near him in a couple of years when his glands take over and he goes crazy?  In the same way, those harmless forays into sin have a way of maturing into major problems that can destroy our lives.  It is like the progression James describes (1:15)  "after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death."  Beware of how the harmless has a way of becoming harmful.

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