Faith Column: Avoiding temptation, letting go of sins
If you are anything like me, at least once in your life you have woken up in bed drenched in a cold sweat thinking, “I want to catch a monkey.”
For those interested in catching a monkey, it’s a pretty simple task, really. First, anchor a sturdy box to the ground. Second, drill a hole in the box just large enough for a monkey to put its arm and empty hand into. Third, place a banana inside the box.
When some random monkey comes wandering along and discovers the banana in the box, it will reach into the box, grab ahold of the banana, and try to remove it from the box. The monkey quickly discovers that it can’t pull its clenched fist from the box and it begins hopping and screeching as it tries desperately to remove the banana.
It is very easy then to capture the monkey because it is trapped; not by any sort of physical trap, but by its inability to understand that escape will come merely by releasing the banana. To those of you now excited to be armed with the ability to catch a monkey, I say “You’re welcome.”
When you think about the monkey trap, it appears that it actually has some application in our lives. What if the banana in the box is a metaphor for sin, temptation, or addiction? Heck, it can even symbolize business or personal relationships, for that matter.
All of these things are familiar and comfortable to each of us, so we reach for them regularly and then find ourselves trapped. We pull like crazy, but can’t seem to free our hand.
We may figuratively screech and howl and thrash around trying to pull out our hand, but it continues to be stuck. Eventually, we find that our inability to remove our hand leaves us powerless, tired, angry or depressed.
We may see ourselves as weak or dumb because we have allowed this to happen. I have always had this problem. It was diagnosed and pointed out to me by my Russian grandfather who used to tell me, “You are strong like bull and smart like tractor.” Ouch.
Well, now we are trapped and there is no possible way of escaping. Or is there? How about just letting go of the banana?
The solution is easy, but getting to a point where we have the strength to make that decision is not. Arriving at that decision requires us to have faith in our Heavenly Father and understand that He makes all things possible.
He can free us from the bondage and traps of sin, temptation, addiction and poor relationships; but only if we take an active role in trying and call upon Him to help us. Letting go is the key element in improving who/what we are.
This column is dedicated to Mary, Jack, and Terri, who have taught me to let go of the banana. You guys are the best!
Gerard Geis is the bishop at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Craig.
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