Sunday, February 26, 2012


The mittens in my trunk supplied all the evidence needed for the indictment. Their warm layers, from the soft Thinsulate inner lining to the weather-resistant nylon shell, had been shredded to bite-sized crumbs that now littered the floor. Annoyed, I snatched up my down jacket for an inspection. Phew! The mouse hadn't munched on it.

My dad advised me to haul in everything chewable from my car...and I thought I had. Still, each time I got into my car after that, I found more evidence of the unwanted resident. Papers from my trash bag shredded on the floor. Scat underneath the driver's seat. More holes in cloth items I hadn't noticed when I cleaned out the trunk.

The first time I set traps, I found the peanut butter licked off clean, the trigger still set and ready to fire. The second time it happened, I brought the traps in for inspection. My dad and I played around with them for awhile to see how to work around the poor, hard-to-trip design (a "safety" feature?). I didn't reset them right away...and then, well...I guess I forgot about it.

The kitchen at church belies the presence of mice, too. Last month we came in to find one of the ladies wiping the counters with bleach. We have to wash out the dishes before we use them to serve the fellowship meal. The deaconesses keep saying they're going to get some traps or poison and dispatch the church mice.

Curled up on the couch in the youth room yesterday after lunch, I thought I detected a slight movement on the floor. Not feeling well, I didn't really want to sit up and check it out. No problem—I still got a good viewing. The mouse scurried into the middle of the room, looked around, then arced back toward the other couch and sat looking at me from the safety of the shadows. His perfect little profile made me smile: big, funneled ears; plump body; long, slender tail; and pointy nose twitching as he looked sweetly on.

Then I remembered who he was. Dragging myself up, I shuffled out to the kitchen to tell the ladies about the sighting. "Why didn't you catch it?" they laughed.

Nestled again on the comfy couch, I got another good sighting of my little friend. I don't know why I went to tell the other women again. When I saw them involved in conversation, I simply turned and went back to my hideout. This time, the mouse kept hidden, too.

Stretched out on my own bed later that evening, I thought again about the mice. When I remembered the damage to my mittens, the evasion of the traps, and the troubles they caused in the church, I felt silly for my affection for the cute mouse in the youth room. A more stereotypical response would have been a shriek; a more appropriate emotion, disgust. But that mouse, I liked. If he could promise not to do any damage, I'd want him to stay.

But of course he can't promise that. He's a mouse! Mice belong outside my car, outside of buildings, and certainly outside the church—the way sin belongs outside my heart. If either one is caught inside, they've got to be exterminated.

And then it hit me. Just this week I'd been admiring a cute little sin. I let it stick around awhile, just looking and thinking how it didn't seem to be hurting anything. Most sin, I agree, is raunchy. But this? I shamefully admit it—I found this little sin rather sweet.

I'd had a talk with God about it, told Him I didn't understand what could be wrong with what I wanted permission to do. When He didn't seem to answer, I realized I needed to take His written Word for it. Wrong is what God defines as wrong—not what I see as hurtful. And then, once I repented and surrendered, He let me see how my cute little sin really did hurt people.

A few days later, as an extra reminder, He sent a cute mouse to reinforce the lesson.

I found the mouse traps again today, and set them out in my car. I've been too laid back about these critters, but now I'm ready to take them on. Once I dispatch the car mouse, I'll take the traps to church, as well.

More importantly, I'm going to restock my spiritual defenses with prayer, watchfulness, and memorization. I've been too lackadaisical there too, or else I wouldn't have found my sin the slightest bit cute. Mice chew up fabric and dirty up buildings. Sin tears and smudges the human soul. I can't afford to let it stick around my heart!


  1. You should look into those newfangled mouse traps. The ones that set with a simple squeeze, and are made of plastic. You squeeze them open and bait them, and set them with the opening toward a wall where they are likely to run. The only way they can get the bait is from the sides (not the top, only the sides), and there just doesn't seem to be enough space for them to just lick it off. I've caught half a dozen mice with these traps, and I certainly won't go back to the board and wire ones!

  2. What an encouraging thought and reminder! Thanks, Cheyenne.