No, not those ones!

When a church member was at my house last Saturday, he remarked upon the birds gathered at the feeder in my backyard and asked if we had ever had a cardinal.  Male cardinals are a vibrant crimson that stands out against the snow and are very territorial.  If there’s anything to the old wives tale that a cardinal is a visitor from beyond the grave, then we were terrorized by a red demon all last winter.

Believing his reflection was another male cardinal, he would repeatedly attack our windows all around our house, banging and flapping against the glass for hours on end, every day, all season long.  As I told this story, my brain, as it often does, went to the spiritual application:

We are indeed our own worst enemies!

I.  James 1:13-15.  No, the devil does not make you do it!  Satan certainly exploits each person’s weaknesses, but the evil desires we act on come from within us–and we choose to sin.  We wanted the cardinal to stop hitting our windows, and God wants us to stop sinning.

II.  Psalm 51:10-12.  Sin robs us of purity, steadfastness, God’s presence, and joy.  The cardinal could not have been that happy striking the windows over and over, and yet he never stopped.  God, who wants us to have life to the full (John 10:10) must think that of us when we fall repeatedly into the same sins.

III.  Romans 8:37-39.  Nothing outside of ourselves can separate us from God’s love.  That is for certain.  But, we can choose to turn away from that love (Hebrews 10:26-31).  While the male did his daily routine, never learning and never quite knocking himself out, the female cardinal would often watch from the branch of a nearby tree.  I couldn’t help but wonder what she must think of him.

They did not return with the snow, and although we do not miss the insistent thumps, I wonder if he has given up his cardinal sins or is just repeating them against someone else’s windows.

How about us?