It's the time of year when spiders build large webs around our home (which is semi located in the country). One of these webs recently took shape near our front walk way; it was attached between a tree in our yard and our front lamp post. A rather large spider was busy at work and paused only for a moment to make sure we weren't going to bother him. (Or her, I really couldn't get close enough to tell). I teased our adult daughter, who is quite small in frame, telling her not to get too close. I warned that given her weight and size, if she got tangled in that web the spider might just have her trapped! She laughed but seemed to heed my warning and kept a safe distance. But as I thought about our "jesting" with each other I realized that it is usually not "the web of another" that entangles us but rather the webs that we ourself spin through our lies, deceit, and sin....
All of us enjoy playing the victim from time to time. We blame others for our failures, relational difficulties, and unhappiness. But the problems faced by most people I know, (myself included) are ones that arise from our own ungodly attitudes and dysfunctional behaviors. It is impossible, for a long period of time, to live in a spirit of arrogance, bend and twist the truth to suit our own purposes, create a private world to engage in unhealthy fantasies, and pretend that rules of integrity and honesty don't apply to us, before we spin a web within which we eventually become entangled. The Bible says it very plainly in Luke 8:17: "For nothing is hidden that will not be made manifest, nor is anything secret that will not be known and come to light." Or, as the writer of the Old Testament put it, "Be sure your sin will find you out." (KJV, Num. 32:23)
On a more positive note, the Bible tells us that will reap what we sow. "Do not be deceived - God is not mocked. For whatever a person sows, this he will also reap. Because the one sowing to his own flesh will reap decay from the flesh. But the one sowing to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit." (Gal. 6:7-8). This means that, to a great degree, the quality of our life is in our hands. We do not have to be bound and caught up in dysfunctional webs of our own making. Rather, we can sow to the Spirit and reap the things of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.
As I see large webs forming throughout my yard this time of year, I know that there are certain places on my property that I simply don't want to go. The same should be true for our life as well. Don't build webs. Don't go to the places where they can be built. Don't be caught up in things that will eventually entangle us and rob us of our joy. There is simply no reason for us to be caught up in and entangled by our own deceitful web.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.