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A few nights ago I was walking our dog one evening and I heard coyotes yipping and howling in the distance. Having grown up in the city, I didn’t realize what a nuisance coyotes could be in a rural community. Now I know that coyotes can kill calves and chickens and will even snag the occasional family pet!
One friend of ours had a pesky coyote problem, but he finally shot one particular coyote and the problems stopped. He had that thing stuffed and stood it by his front door like it was howling at you as you entered!
You don’t hear the coyotes during the day; in fact you rarely see them. They live at night, in the dark, doing their mischief when they can’t be seen or caught. We can be the same way, hiding our mischief in the darkness, pretending no one will see.
The Bible tells us “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11 NIV) That’s pretty clear, have nothing to do with the deeds of darkness. But have you noticed, a lot of mischief happens at night? It is as if the darkness outside brings out the darkness in our own souls.
It may not be the dark of night, but we still hide our little sins away. We hide our pride and our envy; we hide our private lusts and desires. We gossip and lie and try to pretend it doesn’t mean anything. What are you hiding in the darkness? Is it really wrong to cheat a little on your taxes? Is it so wrong to click on that sleazy website? What about what is hidden in your heart? The Bible also says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 NIV)
We need to let God’s light shine in our hearts. We need to let it shine into the darkest places in our souls. Remember that friend who shot the coyote? It came out into the light one day, and once in the light, it could be removed.
Now we probably don’t need to stuff the little coyotes of the heart, but we do need to bring them into the light. Maybe we need a good friend to hold us accountable. Maybe we need to offer someone a sincere apology. But one thing we all need is God to shed His light on our hearts and show us what to do.