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Things That Make Me Shudder

May 26, 2011

Something was crawling on my skin; and as I threw back the blankets, I saw a moth flutter across my arm. Screaming, I leapt out of bed and landed on the floor. Instantly I was on my feet shaking out my nightgown.

“That was so funny!” Amy, my sister, was sitting up in bed giggling. “I caught a moth by the back porch light and put it in your bed to see what would happen.” She kept on laughing.

I glared at her – so young and yet so devious. How did a five year-old even concoct these schemes?

Unfortunately, I’d given her such a good reaction that she decided to try it again the next night. Without thinking through the long-term ramifications, I retaliated and caught one the following evening and stuck it between her sheets.

This started a horrifying stint in our childhood. Each night we’d peel back the blankets and sheets one by one. Carefully we looked for moths. By now, Amy had taken to catching five or six at a time; so I could never be certain one wasn’t nestled in a fold somewhere. Would one start creeping across my skin just as I slipped off to sleep?

Something had to be done. “Amy, you need to stop doing that,” I told her one evening. “Moths might be poisonous; and if one bit me, maybe I could die.”

Amy’s eyes widened, and I let her ponder the dastardly possibility as I turned over on my side and faced the wall. Deep in my heart I was pretty sure moths couldn’t bite, but one couldn’t know for absolute certain. If they were poisonous and one did bite me, that wouldn’t be good.

After that day, I never found another moth in my bed; and Amy and I grew up – both of us carrying an apprehension of moths with us. She feared a poisonous moth might bite one of us, and I couldn’t see one without a shudder traveling down my spine. The memory of one scuttling across my arm, trapped and frenzied under the covers, was still too real.

Many years passed before my parents made a long road trip to bring me home from college. When we pulled in the driveway, Amy was waiting for us. “I had to use the back door the whole time you were gone,” she said. “Every time I came home, moths were flying around the front door, and I think they might have been the poisonous kind because they had red wings.”

Mom and dad gave her a puzzled look as I tried to vanish through the front door. Amy’s words stopped me in my tracks. “Laura told me about those deadly moths when we were kids, and I’ve been scared of them ever since.”

All eyes turned to me as I tried to defend myself. “Why,” I asked her, “would you believe something I said when I was seven?”

Technically I hadn’t told a lie. I’d put in plenty of conditions. MAYBE they were poisonous; and IF one bit me, MAYBE I would die.

“Because you were my big sister, and I believed you. You never lied; so I trusted you.”

Ah, that little word, trust. Such a precious thing – gained through years of honest behavior but so easily lost in a moment of deceit.

Very early in the history of mankind, God made it clear that telling a lie was unacceptable. He told the Israelites in Leviticus 19:11, “You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another.”

Why is it so important to be 100% honest? Truthfulness points to Jesus, and anything else directs them away from Him. Jesus stated that He is the truth, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Luke 14:6

So the next time you’re tempted to tell a lie or a half truth, even if it seems to be for a good cause, consider whether you want to be pointing people to or away from Jesus.

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