There it was.
Carved in wood.
The evidence could not be denied.
My niece, Anna, dropped her kids off at school and then went home to clean up a bit. She removed a hairbrush, school papers, and yesterday’s jewelry from her dresser. And there it was. She couldn’t believe her eyes.
And a name.
L-i-l-l-i-a-n…carved into the top of her dresser’s walnut surface.
Seven-year-old L-i-l-l-i-a-n didn’t even bother to hide the weapon used to commit the crime. The nail lay just where she found it. Right on the dresser by her name.
It was a tough six hours as Anna waited for her 44-inch, 49-pound lump of love to get off the school bus. This was not a good day.
“Come with me,” Anna said to little Lillian. “I want to show you something.”
“What’s this about?” Anna asked pointing to L-i-l-l-i-a-n carved into the wood.
Lillian’s rosy lower lip quivered, her green eyes filled with tears, and her porcelain face turned autumn red.
“I’m sorry,” she whimpered with bowed head.
“What were you thinking?” Anna asked sternly.
“Well,” she began, “last night I was waiting for the boys to finished their shower so I could take my turn. I saw the nail and picked it up. At first, when I thought about carving my name on the dresser, my mind said ‘no, no, no, don’t do it,’ But the longer I waited, and the longer I thought about it, the ‘no, no, no, don’t do it’ turned into ‘yes, yes, yes, do it.’ And I did. I knew it was wrong, but I just had to do it.”
Anna got down on her knees and held Lillian’s cherub but very guilty face in her hands. “That’s how the devil works,” Anna said. “He creeps in when we don’t expect it and tells us to do bad things — wrong things; but it is up to us to say ‘no.’”
“I’m sorry, mommy,” Lillian cried. “I’ll never listen to the devil again.”
Anna told me her story, and you know what? I saw myself in Lillian. I wonder if you did too.
Temptation lies right in front of us — like a nail just taunting us to scratch an itch. At first we say “no, no, no,” but the longer we wait around and fiddle with it, the more likely the “no, no, no” will turn into a “yes, yes, yes.”
What’s the answer? Don’t wait around and fiddle with it! Walk away. Right away.
Paul wrote: “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT).
That’s true whether the temptation is flirting with that married man at the office, having one glass of wine too many, searching for an old boyfriend on Facebook, sharing a juicy morsel of gossip with a friend, or carving your name in your mom’s dresser with a nail.
I love that Lillian said, “I’ll never listen to the devil again.” Oh don’t you wish that were true? For Lillian. For me. For you. But we will.
That’s when I thank Jesus for the nails – not one, but three — nails that pierced His hands and feet so that we can be forgiven. Even when we fail, Jesus forgives us when we ask and restores us when we fall. Click & Tweet!
It’s called G-r-a-c-e.
Dear Lord, when I encounter temptation today, help me to walk away, right away. Give me the wisdom not to fiddle with it, the strength not to give in to it, and the courage to turn my back on it. Thank You for always providing a way out. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Want to dig a little deeper today: Read 2 Samuel 11:1-5. List at least five things David should have done to turn away from this sin.
Think of the last time you really messed up. Think of five steps you could have taken to stop the progression. If you dare, leave a comment and tell at least 1.
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Jesus, the God-made-man broke the man-made-rules of His day to set women free…
to set YOU free.
Do you believe Jesus think you are valuable and worthy of His attention, love, and devotion? Do you believe He can set you free from anything holding you back?
During a time when women were not allowed to sit under a rabbi’s teaching, speak to men in public, or testify in court – a time when women were treated as property, less than men in every way, and moved about in the shadows of society – Jesus came to set things right. He broke the man-made rules of his day to bring women out of the shadows and onto center stage to play leading roles in the gospel story.
Just as surely as Jesus overturned the money changer’s tables in the temple, He overturned the exploitation and mistreatment of women of His day. Not only did Jesus accept them as they were, He challenged them to become more.