How had it gotten into the house? It was an aphid. It was mid-February. We are going through a Jekyll-Hyde type of winter so you start to expect the unexpected but it was 20 degrees outside when I saw the bug. I thought they were in hibernation this time of year. But there it was. It was clinging to the ceiling in my bathroom. Where did it come from?
I quickly jumped on the computer and searched the internet for more information. The more I read, the more alarmed I became. I discovered they are one of the most destructive insects for cultivated plants. They weaken the plants by sucking the sap out of them, leaving sooty residues. The scariest part for me was the fact that they multiply rapidly.
They often give birth to live females who are already pregnant. Figure that one out! It is a freak of nature. I quickly went back and took care of it. Unless it knows how to swim, it will not be bothering us anymore. It's crazy, but bugs have this ability to sneak into the tiniest openings and make themselves at home. If you're not diligent, they can take over.
The same is true with sin. It usually creeps in and begins as one little indiscretion. We say or do something that seems harmless. We tell ourselves that it isn't hurting anyone. We bend the truth to cover it up. We make excuses and justify it. If we are not careful, we open the door for even more peccadillos to take root in our lives. That can lead to our downfall.
We've seen it happen to movie stars, athletes, politicians and even religious leaders. The Bible is filled with stories of men and women who fell from grace due to their moral failures. Noah succumbed to drunkenness and brought shame on himself. Moses killed a man in anger. David fell prey to his lust and committed adultery. Yet, each one found grace in time.
There is no sin that God can't forgive if we come to him with a sincere heart. That's the point of the story we know as the prodigal son in Luke 15. That young man dishonored his father, ran away and lived a wild life filled with debauchery. His sin probably started small and then started spinning out of control like an insect infestation. Before long he lost himself.
The text says that when he came to his senses, when he realized what had happened, and how far he was from that place of grace that he wanted to be, he realized that his best option was to return to his father and beg forgiveness. You know why I love that story? Because of how it ends and the hope it offers each of us.
It says that when the father saw him off in the distance, he ran to him, threw his arms around him, and kissed him. He ordered a feast to take place and restored him to his place of honor. The truth is that God wants to do the same for all of us. That's the story of redemption that we'll be hearing again as we enter the season of Lent.
So if you have something bugging you, nip it in the bud and let God's grace take its place. Come back to church and be reminded of just how much God loves you.
God bless! See you in church. Cal.
The Rev. Cal Lord is the pastor of Central Baptist Church of Westerly. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.