One day Charlie received a notification from the local zoo. He had been chosen out of a large group of applicants to raise a baby gorilla that was abandoned by his mother at birth. Charlie was thrilled. Find out what Charlie and his pet gorilla have to do with you and your spiritual life. Please read more.
Perhaps, like me, you are old enough to remember the cartoon Magilla Gorilla. Mr. Peebles, the pet store owner, was always trying to sell Magilla to someone. But to be clear, raising a pet gorilla is nothing to monkey around with. I wrote the parable, “Charlie And His Pet Gorilla” to make a very serious spiritual point.
Charlie was so excited when he brought his pet gorilla home, but he soon found that caring for a baby gorilla can be quite demanding. A baby gorilla requires 24-hour care. Charlie had to hold the gorilla and feed him from a bottle for hours every day.
In an attempt to make the gorilla feel like he belonged there, Charlie would dress in a black furry vest simulating other gorillas and he would crawl on kneepads and make gorilla sounds. Soon the gorilla was rolling over, sitting up and walking on all fours. It wasn’t long before the gorilla was teething and before you knew it, he was eating sweet potatoes and carrots.
But as Charlie’s gorilla grew, matured, and became stronger, he became harder to handle and control. As the gorilla’s teeth developed, he was always trying to bite Charlie.
In the wild, gorillas are typically shy and reserved animals, but they will attack when they feel threatened or startled. If a person tries to run from a gorilla, the excited gorilla will chase them down and bite them. Their bite, although not usually fatal, leaves a deep and dangerous wound.
Long before Charlie’s gorilla reached adulthood, Charlie knew it was far too dangerous to keep him as a domesticated pet. Charlie knew he had to take him back to the zoo. There was a problem, however. The gorilla refused to leave. He was too attached to Charlie and he refused to be separated from him. Charlie now had a serious quandary on his hands. He either had to, for his safety, get rid of the gorilla, or risk serious and perhaps life-threatening injury if he kept him. What would you choose if you were Charlie?
You see, we all have to make that decision. Today’s message is not about raising baby gorillas, it is about acquiring, nurturing, and then trying to rid ourselves from pet sins. Pet sins can be much more dangerous than Charlie’s gorilla. And interestingly enough, pet sins share many similarities to pet gorillas.
Many of our bad habits and sinful tendencies were acquired in our adolescent years or early adulthood. We nurture and develop these habits and sinful ways for many years. Eventually we realize we must rid ourselves of these pet sins, but like Charlie’s pet gorilla, our pet sins often refuse to leave. Recent research shows that early life experiences significantly impact our actions in adulthood.
An article in Psychology Today states, “Whether following good habits or bad, people are by repetition ruled because human beings are not simply creatures of habit; they are captives of habit. Much of how we behave today is how we are going to behave tomorrow.”
That same article went on to say, “Resist a habit, it seems, and the habit will defend itself. Habitual behavior will fight for survival.” In the battle to change bad habits, in other words in the battle between the “new us” versus the “old us”, the old us often wins.
In 1 John 1:8 it states, “If we say, “We are without sin,” we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” As Christians we all wrestle with sins, but sadly we sometimes choose to adopt, raise, and nurture our favorite pet sins. If we are honest, we sometimes delight in our pet sins. Our concern for our pet sin isn’t that it is offensive to God, our concern is that someone will discover our sin.
If gossiping is our pet sin, we fear the person we gossiped about will discover that we are the source of the gossip. If viewing porn is our pet sin, we fear someone will discover the porn on our computer or smartphone. We often fail to fear our lack of obedience to God.
Pet sins exert power over us, they continually torment us, and if someone calls us out on our pet sin, we often make a feeble attempt to defend that sin. Like the baby gorilla, our pet sins may appear tame and harmless at first, but eventually they mature and turn against us.
Most wild animals are not meant to be domesticated. Likewise, neither are sins. All sins are harmful. By the time sins turn into addictions, like Charlie’s gorilla, they refuse to leave us.
Do you have a pet sin? Have you become attached to it like Charlie was attached to his gorilla? Do you recognize its danger? Charlie eventually had to get rid of his gorilla. Is it time for you to get rid of your pet sin? Have you tried to and found your efforts unsuccessful?
On our own, we are not strong enough to overpower our pet sins. Thankfully Jesus is! With His help, with prayer, with the help of other caring Christian friends, and with new resolve, let’s return our now fully grown and dangerous sin to the Calvary Zoo, otherwise known as the cross of Christ!
Heavenly Father, help me to address the pet sins in my life. I have confessed these sins over and over and yet I keep giving into them. Strengthen my resolve to rid myself of everything that is offensive to you. Guide me to helpful resources in my battle against sin. And, above all else, help me always to trust more in Your Son Jesus, than in my own abilities to overcome these sins. Amen!
BLESSED BROKEN AND SCARED MEN’S RETREAT
Saturday February 17, 2024 St. Theresa Parish Belleview Fl.
9:00am –3:30 pm
Call Parish Office for details (352) 245 2458
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