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RELIGION: Avoid the traps

by Gene Linzey | May 3, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.

Two weeks ago, I mentioned that we caught "Friday the 13th" and I was talking about the 13th opossum we caught, which happened on Friday. Well, we've caught five more since then.

Although the trap we use doesn't hurt the animal, it startles them when they step on the lever. It releases the door which snaps shut with a loud BANG! Several months ago, I watched one opossum try to move the trap by pushing with its nose but, when the trap wouldn't budge, Mr. Opossum went around and walked into it to get the food. When the door banged shut, the startled visitor lurched slightly, then proceeded to have dinner.

Opossums have a purpose in life, otherwise God wouldn't have created them, so I take them to the forest and release them.

I find it interesting that the groundhog, roadrunner, racoons and rats we've seen haven't been interested in checking out the trap -- so far. Their time might come.

However, we've seen other interlopers visiting us. Our cat's daily meal entices them from around the neighborhood, and guess who we've found in the trap?

You might have guessed it: Neighbor's cats.

The first one was angry. Hissing! Spitting! Snarling! And striking at me through the wire cage! I don't know whether he was mad at himself for getting caught or mad at the world in general. But looking into his eyes, I could tell he was furious! I let him sit in the cage all night long, hoping that he would chill out by morning. Well, he didn't. When I took Snagglepuss (a name I gave him) to the fence and released him, he bolted toward the fence, ran under it -- losing some fur in the process -- snarling all the way. Good riddance, Snagglepuss.

Two nights ago, our fourth feline visitor took the bait, although it wasn't intended for him either. Of course, I didn't know we had caught him until morning. This guy was not so much angry as he was scared half to death! He was soaked to the skin and cold because it had rained through the night. Lightning was flashing with the accompanying thunder! The critter didn't have the freedom to go hide and it looked and sounded like the whole world was against him!

As I approached, he began acting like Snagglepuss, but not out of hate. Looking into its eyes, I realized he was reacting out of abject fear. I felt sorry for Blacky (my name for him). Talking gently and making sure I stayed out of his reach, I took the cage to the fence and released him. Out he exploded and leapt the fence in a single bound. Super Cat! But he was greeted by his owner's other pet -- the dog. Blacky was NOT in a mood to play at the time and hid under the house.

As these cats and opossums come into our yard -- a place they are not supposed to be -- they see something that attracts them and BANG! They are trapped. Are you aware that people get caught in traps too?

We go somewhere we should not be going. We see something, or someone, we should not be seeing and BANG! The trap door closes.

Perhaps we lose a job, don't get that promotion, someone rejects us. The situation could be one or several of a thousand things. We feel rejected and look in the wrong places to find comfort or security. We then do the wrong things which only tightens the iron bars of captivity.

Or we could be looking for ways to inflate our ego, someone to flatter us and make us feel good. Some of us connive and scheme to "get ahead" at someone else's expense. Our pride drives us over the edge of what's right and into the abyss of immorality of various kinds.

BANG! The trap door closes.

But there is a way of escape. We need someone who understands us, will point us in the right direction and open the trap door. That person is Jesus. He knows if we are angry, hurt, afraid or proud. But He cares for us and loves us. He'll help us, point us to "home" and release us.

Hebrews 4:15 tells us, "This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin" (NLT).

Whatever your situation, turn to Jesus and live for Him; He can help you.

S. Eugene Linzey is author, speaker and mentor. Send comments and questions to [email protected]. Visit his web site at The opinions expressed are those of the author.

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