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Deer stand sin

By Rev. Scott Garman

A couple of weeks ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to be present for my oldest daughter’s first deer harvest. We were thankful for the opportunity to hunt on the private property of a friend in Lycoming County while seated comfortably on a two-person elevated ladder stand in an area that has a healthy deer population.

Before the sun even came up, we could hear the deer moving through the area and all around us. As soon as enough light filled the skies to be able to see, we could make out deer in our immediate vicinity, which overlooked an open pipeline filled with high grass. The pipeline was run through an area of farmland that meanders into the adjoining woodlands and mountains.

Now, as much as I love sitting in this stand, I will admit that the only problem is that it does not exactly blend in with the rest of the terrain. And, needless to say, the deer picked right up on it.

When the first group of deer moved through, while one would feed, another would be staring up at us trying to distinguish the weird looking creatures in the tree. We didn’t move or make a sound in the hopes that the deer would eventually ignore us and present an opportunity for a shot – it seemed like an eternity.

You see, before one would put its head down to move away, another would come along and begin checking us out. This scenario played out at least 5-6 times over the course of 30 minutes to the point where I wasn’t sure if she would ever get a shot.

However, much to our delight, the deer eventually began to ignore us and continue their usual feeding patterns as we had about 6-8 deer within 150 feet of us. At this point, my daughter calmly put the gun across the stand, placed the crosshairs on a large doe and pulled the trigger. She made a great shot and the animal laid up within seconds and provided us with meat for the coming months.

Why do I tell you this story? For the simple fact that during the time leading up to the kill, every deer within sight of us spent significant time checking us out, looking at us, smelling us, head shaking and snorting, all in an attempt to get us to move and identify ourselves.

They all knew that something out of the ordinary was present, but because we didn’t present a clear danger for them at that time, they eventually rendered us as safe and kept about their business. All was good in the deer world.

Until it wasn’t – at least for one of the animals. She found out the hard way that we were far from safe for them.

Don’t many of us treat the sin in our lives in a similar fashion? We are initially startled and insecure, but when time and experience teach us that it’s relatively harmless, we begin to get comfortable and indulge in it to a greater degree. Unfortunately, we do so to the same disastrous results.

Scripture states that “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” Satan is bent upon your destruction and the tolerance of sin in your life is a firm place for him to start.

James tells us that “sin, when it is full grown, gives birth to death.” Satan delights when we see sin in our lives as normal and begin to rationalize its existence and effect upon us. This slippery slope leads only to death and destruction.

The reality of the situation is that my daughter didn’t harvest a deer on that day because the deer were unaware of our presence. She harvested a deer because, through their skepticism, they had become accepting of our presence.

We cannot become accepting of the presence of sin in our lives without similar and disastrous consequences.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Scott Garman, pastor of Cedar Heights Brethren in Christ Church in Mill Hall.

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