The Mona. A small member of the primate family native to the lowlands of Ghana and Nigeria; introduced and thriving on the isle of Grenada...

That's where I made introductions with the critters. We were climbing back up to the parking lot after admiring Concord Falls when I noticed two of them in a nearby cage. They were absolutely adorable, and I couldn't stop myself from hurrying over.

"Be careful for your glasses," warned a friendly policeman.

My husband immediately took off his sunglasses, the kind that fit over your regular glasses, and backed away with a protective hand over his prescription eyewear.

Taking my cue from him, I removed my own sunglasses and backed away; but those little creatures were so incredibly cute! I had to get in close to get a picture!

"No!" admonished my husband. "Your glasses!"

I waved towards him with my sunglasses, and he took them from me. Then he started repeating himself: "Be careful with your glasses!"

I dismissed this. Hadn't I just given him my sunglasses? And so it was that I came in close enough to fit my camera lens between the bars. Just as I was about to snap my picture, however, I felt something sliding off my face, and in an instant, I could no longer see up close.

"He's got your glasses!" my husband cried.

I backed away and reached my hand to my face... "How could he have taken my glasses? I gave them to you..." But the last words dropped off as I got far enough away for my far-sighted eyes to again focus in the cage. Sure enough, the mona was chewing on a pair of glasses...

That's when reality set in. While carefully protecting my cheap sunglasses, I hadn't even given a second thought to my prescription eyewear ...

The policeman was now staring at me with an "I told you so" kind of look on his face. He had warned me! So had my husband, and I had listened to them both! But only to a degree; and now all I could do was watch that no-longer-cute creature ruin my only means of seeing anything up close...

The Bible warns us to put away sin from our lives, and most serious Christians attempt to do just that. We shun immorality. We don't lie or cheat. We give our 10% to the poor. We wouldn't think of stealing and we don't kill. We put away our "sunglasses".

Meanwhile, however, most of us are still clinging to our "prescription eyewear", sometimes without even realizing it. We get angry. We have a hard time forgiving. We judge others. Everything is all about--us! And these are the things that will really eat away at our hearts. Didn't Jesus say: "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'You shall not murder, a and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment...You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart." (Matt. 5:21-22, 27-28 NIV).

Examining our hearts for the visible sin isn't enough. Rather, we need to spend time daily with the Lord, asking Him to reveal to us those "secret" sins that can be so damaging to our souls. Otherwise, we may find ourselves in far more trouble than I did when that crazy monkey stole my prescription eyewear! We may find ourselves, "subject to judgment"!

But wait. Didn't Jesus die on that cross to forgive me of all my sin? Why should I even worry about the hidden ones?

Remember how that Mona reached out and stole my glasses, rendering me completely blind for anything close up? In the same way, the devil will latch on to the secret sins in our hearts and use these to steal our joy and happiness. For example, unforgiveness, anger and lack of faith can easily push us into depression. When we judge others, we will cause others to sin. Besides, all sin works to separate us from God: "Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." (Isaiah 59:1-2 NIV); and we are told: "Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper..." (Prov. 28:13 NIV)

Don't get caught without your glasses like I did. Heed the warnings. Ask God to help you identify the sin in your heart that has become so much a part of you that you no longer think of it as sin. Get rid of it, for when you do, the devil will not be able to have a strong hold on your life. You will be free to live, free to love, free to serve, and free to accept and utilize the peace and joy and love that God has to give each of us.

Fortunately someone came and rescued my glasses, and they came through unharmed. Will your next encounter with the devil's forces end in such good results? Think about it!

And in the interim, why not join me in this prayer from King David: "But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults." (Ps. 19:12 NIV)

In His love,
Lyn


Lynona Gordon Chaffart, Speech-Language Pathologist, mother of two, Author -- "Aboard God's Train -- A Journey With God Through the Valley of Cancer", Author and Moderator for The Nugget, a tri-weekly internet newsletter, and Scriptural Nuggets, a website devoted to Christian devotionals and inspirational poems, with Answers2Prayer Ministries. Follow Lyn on Twitter @lynchaffart.