Summer is winding to a close and many of us in the humid states of the Heartland are heaving a great sigh of relief. There is a lot to love about summer. It has its perks, with its water parks, soft rain showers, and vocal night animals (whippoorwills, toads, crickets, etc.). However, it’s hard to tell by the time we get to August, if the mosquitos are worth the warm weather, if the bug spray is worth the extra shower before bed, if the outside BBQ is worth fending off the winged demons. My son said it best after Fourth of July fireworks when he said, “Mom, I hate mokeetos”. He can’t spell, but I imagine his is a Capital-H HATE, because he is his mother’s son, and I hate them too.
His matter-of-fact truth got me thinking, though, about mosquitos, about hating, and about good things (like God’s love and Fourth of July fireworks) being near-ruined by the bad (like sin and blood-sucking winged insects), and how we could learn a lesson from this innocent kind of hate.
1. Skeeters Sneak Up on You
Mosquitos can sneak up on you. More times than not, you will hear them before you see them (especially when it’s dark), and the buggers are small, so they sneak in wherever possible. If your screen door has a quarter-sized tear, a mosquito will invariably find it, trespass into your home, and may even alert all of his buddies so that they can join the fun. Sin is like that. Many years ago, my big brother told me that the Devil knows me more than I think, because he watches us and has for years. At the time (I was probably 12 or so) this made me mad! I think I argued with him, but mostly was mad at him. Now I understand that it’s true. The devil knows us well enough to sneak up on us with his enticing sins that seem harmless. He even knows how to bypass our defenses, like those summer mosquitos always cramping my style.
2. Skeeters Bite (No Matter How Many Clothes You Have On)
It’s a common misconception that you can wear long sleeves, pants, socks, and shoes (even a bee hat and veil!) to stop mosquitos. This is not true. They will get what they came for even if it means biting you through your clothes! Sin is like these persistent and resilient bugs. Just like the devil stuck with Job, he’ll stick with you. If there is any possibility that he’ll succeed, he will have a hand at your back, waiting to take a bite out of your resolve, your comfort, and your confidence. You can cover up, spray repellent head to toe, and still, you’ll get bitten the first time you leave the front door open a crack. There may be a crack that you don’t know exists! The devil will use it, just like those mosquitos.
3. Skeeters Carry Diseases
Mosquitos carry what are considered mosquito-borne diseases, including malaria, West Nile virus, elephantiasis, dengue fever, yellow fever, and more. These diseases are not a light thing, and we cannot test a mosquito before coming into contact with it. Most times we can’t even see it after we slap it away because it’s smashed, or disappeared into the night. Sin is a type of disease like this. It sneaks in however it can, and then even when the “carrier” is gone, the damage has been done.
4. You Have to Repel Skeeters
There is no way to get rid of mosquitos (unless you move to Antarctica, and even then, I’m not convinced you’re completely safe). You can put up screens, close doors, wear layers, and they will always be there…buzzing and hovering. The best way to deal with mosquitos is to repel them. Companies make a fortune on sprays, candles, oils, and plants that repel mosquitos. These products work because mosquitos hate them. Similarly, one of the best way to avoid sin is by repelling it! The devil does not like goodness. People who will bring sin into your life are not comfortable sharing their sins with you if you repel that type of behavior. By striving to be like Jesus and to shine Jesus outward, it will repel sin much like your favorite brand of bug spray.
5. The Bite Will Itch Long After They’re Gone
When my youngest was telling me how much he hates mosquitos, I think he meant the bites. Most often my kids play outside until dusk and I have to make them come inside because I notice the red pocks on their backs or arms. Mosquito bites. They play so hard, they never feel them–until the next day or week, when they’re begging for itch cream before bed. This is like sin. If sin has wormed its way through our best defenses and sinks its teeth into us, we may not have noticed. We may have gotten comfortable with it, easing along. We may not notice that it left a mark.