A friend of mine was telling me about some of her camping experiences down by the river.
She said that the racoons were so persistent that she and her camping buddies just decided to make the most of it by having some fun with them.
They would do things like tying a chicken leg to the top of the trash can lid where the racoons would try for long periods of time to take the chicken leg off so they could take it elsewhere.
She said they also would make popcorn on the campfire, and the last pan of popcorn they would pop with the lid off so it would go everywhere and the racoons would have to go looking for it.
She said they couldn’t leave anything laying out because the racoons would take it away. There was even one racoon that figured out how to drag a cooler to the edge of a steep hill and let it roll down, since that often gave the desired result of the lid coming open. And once, the campers found their cooler with the lid closed after the racoons had emptied it of all its contents.
But once there was a racoon that was almost as big as a bear, and they were rather scared of it and didn’t want to mess with it.
My friend’s stories of racoons at the campfire may seem humorous and even cute. Racoons are cute little animals, after all.
But many people don’t think they’re so cute when they are knocking over their trash cans in the middle of the night. Who’s there? Is it a robber? Well, yes and no.
We may not appreciate the mess that they make of our trash, but the racoons that do this are wild animals. They are looking for food. They don’t understand the boundaries that we set as humans:
you stay in the woods;
I live in the neighborhood,
and this is my trash can.
But once they find how easy it is to get a meal at your trash can, it is very difficult to keep them out. They just do what comes naturally for them. They are wild.
This reminds me of what the apostle Paul calls “the old man” or “the old self”, that is the person one is before salvation through Jesus Christ. It describes the way we were before salvation, and the way many around us still are. They walk in sin because they don’t have the Spirit of God living in them. They are sinners; they just do what comes naturally for them.
” because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7,8 NASB
“But thanks be to God that though you were slaves of sin, you became obedient from the heart. Romans 6:17 NASB
Some who have experienced God’s grace and love, haven’t understood what it was, thus attributing it to luck or happenstance. They don’t respect God’s boundaries because they don’t understand why He set them. They don’t understand that He set boundaries for their own good and for the good of those around them. They may even like their life of sin (trash can raiding) and are not looking for a change.
Fortunately there is hope for all who call upon the name of the Lord. The Bible tells us that when we are in Christ, He makes us a new creation; old things pass away. Everything becomes new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Some of you may have found yourself looking at “those sinners” in the news (or elsewhere) and wanting to change them. They cannot be changed from the outside in, through criticism or even education as to why their ways are wrong. They must be changed from the inside out by Jesus Christ. Even the biggest, scariest sinner can be transformed if he will turn his life over to Christ, receiving Him as Savior and Lord.
So, instead of criticizing and getting upset, let’s ask God to help us see the unsaved from His point of view. Let’s pray for those who are still slaves to sin so that they may come to Jesus as their new Master who is able and willing to make them new creatures in Him.
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