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Temptation in a Bun

December 4, 2010

Her long hair had been carefully wound into a bun and was now held in place by a wooden pin which was stuck through a three-inch wide, leather band.  I knew that I should be listening to what the pastor was saying, but I was distracted by this creation in front of me.  The leather band was an object of interest in itself with its detailed tooling, but I hardly gave it notice because my eight year old mind had been filled with a horrifying thought.  What if I were to reach up and snatch the pin out of her hair?

I imagined her hair cascading down and at the same time the woman turning her head around in shock as she clutched at her tumbling hair. 

Would I be able to do it quickly enough so that she wouldn’t see me?  Maybe she’d think it just fell out.  I’d never be quick enough for mom to not see me though, that was for sure.

The more I considered the woman’s surprise and horror, the more I wanted to do it.  I’d never in my life been tempted to do something so terrible; but for some reason, I really wanted to see her hair come flying out of that bun.

I knew that I would never follow through with something so naughty, or would I?  Suddenly I was afraid that in a moment of “throw caution to the wind” my hands, on their own accord would fly up and just do it.  Not the spanking I would get, but the dreadful disappointment and shame I would inflict on my parents made me know that I had to take action to make sure my hands stayed where they belonged; so I sat on them. 

I also decided it would be best to not look at the hair in front of me anymore.  Not looking was tricky.  After all, she was directly in front of me, and siblings flanked me on either side – no room for scooching down the pew; and mom and dad didn’t take kindly to seat swapsies in the middle of church.  I was pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to explain in a hushed whisper why it was that I needed to move.  So I just stared over the lady’s left shoulder with all of my might, and I gave a big sigh of relief when church ended.

My adult mind wonders what ever possessed me to have such thoughts, but I have to admire the action my little self took to keep wickedness at bay.

Often we know when temptation is lurking, but we refuse to turn and run when it is easy to do so.  Unfortunately, the seeds of temptation grow quickly, and often it takes little more than the simple act of seeing for a seed to be planted.

Years ago I read the following suggestion:  Place Psalm 101:3a above your television set.   “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes…” 

Running, or in my case not looking at her hair, is not always so easy.  Think of Joseph and what it cost him to run from Potipher’s wife.  Nonetheless, he did run; and although it cost him his freedom for a time, God honored his decision to do right.

The next time temptation comes knocking on your door recite, “I will set nothing wicked before my eyes.”   Then you will be able to claim verse 4 which says, “I will not know wickedness.”

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