Image  A Little Bull

My brother Al was fresh out of high school when he began managing a sixty-acre farm.  I was eight years old.  Among Al’s animal menagerie was a brown and white bull calf named Bell Ringer.  He’d lay like a big lazy dog in the field, gently chewing the cud; his soft young fur making a perfect pillow for my head.  It was spring- a meadow-lark spring, and the pasture smelled like fresh-cut cilantro.  I’d traipse down there after school to hang out with Bell Ringer, who greeted me by licking with great interest, the salt from my sweaty-little-kid arms and hands.  My brother warned me to stay away;  “Bell Ringer’s a bull, not a puppy,” he’d say, but I paid no attention to his caution, heedless of the growing girth and strength in the little bull I loved. I did notice Bell Ringer scramble to his feet now, when he saw me coming.  How polite, I thought, ignoring his edgy restlessness.  One day I approached with a fistful of alfalfa held out in greeting, and Bell Ringer suddenly pawed the ground, dropped his chin to his chest, and charged me! He was absolutely out-of-control, chasing me across the pasture, over the road and up the stone steps, right up to the front porch screen door. Only when I slammed two doors on his nose was I finally safe. I was shocked- my pet had become a total bully! My days of lazing in the pasture ended abruptly.

There’s another bull to guard against: pet sins- those things that seem small and manageable, and so we are blind to its growing strength until quite suddenly, it overtakes us. Like Samson, ignorant of his weakening status, he falsely assumed, “‘I’ll go out as before’…but he did not know that the Lord had left him.” Judges 16:20. Genesis 4:7 warns us, “…sin is crouching at the door; and its desire is for you, but you must master it.”

There’s only one way to deal with an out-of-control bully: RUN- and slam the door in its face. Better yet, heed your brother’s warning and stay the heck away from that seemingly greener pasture. 

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