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Forgive Means "Let Go"



In the last few days there was an item on the news about residents in a local neighborhood finding a bobcat in their yard. A story we sometimes hear is about an alligator being found in a drainage ditch. We haven’t heard that this year, with the drought, but sometimes we do. In Alaska, none of the cities are very far from the wilderness, so it is common to find bears roaming the streets.



The next time you find a bobcat, an alligator, or a bear in your yard, my advice is to keep your distance. Leave it to the professionals. The next time you find a wild monkey in your yard, I can help.



I have read descriptions of two monkey traps based on the same principle. One is a vase with a neck just wide enough for a monkey to stick its open paw in. The other is a coconut with a hole cut in it that is just big enough for a monkey to stick its open paw in. Some nuts or pieces of fruit are placed in each. The vase is buried with just a little of the neck above ground while the coconut is tied or chained to a tree. Then the monkey hunter waits for a hungry monkey to come along.



The hungry monkey smells the treat and finds the buried vase or chained coconut. He reaches in, grabs his meal, pulls... and pulls... but can’t get his fist with the treat through the narrow opening. Now he is hungry and mad. As he continues pulling, he screams his displeasure, but he never lets go. He holds tighter, pulls harder, and screams louder.



The monkey hunter, who may be having lunch, or reading, or napping, hears the screams, walks to his trap, and throws a net over the monkey, who is still holding tightly to his treat.



“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him...”



The Greek word for “forgive” was also used in Bible days for loosening a ship from its mooring or for releasing an accused person. As I understand it, the root meaning is “to let go.” “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him...” Let go of whatever you are holding against him. Let go of your grievance. Forgive him.



1 Timothy 3:7 and 2 Timothy 2:26 both refer to a snare, to a trap, set by the devil. When I refuse to forgive, when I refuse to let go, the devil becomes the monkey hunter and I become the monkey.

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