The challenge of walking with the God who knows me
Names changed throughout except in some cases where the person involved has been or is in ministry.
If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
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“Let the wicked fall into their own nets while I pass by in safety.”
It was the year of 21st birthdays amongst Discipleship Ministry at Edinburgh University. Each time one had come there had been a practical joke of some kind on the one who was having his birthday. Most of them were of the cold bath early in the morning variety, but some had gone further. Graham had decided on vengeance and one Sunday some time following his ‘baptism’ had invited everyone around for coffee after lunch. When the coffee came, some thought it tasted funny, though frankly it seemed fine to me. Eventually the truth came out, those who had done the deed on our host had coffee spiked with laxative. There were some concerned faces. The prank failed, most of the material had not dissolved and was down at the bottom of the mugs.
With this as the background it came to my 21st birthday. I decided that they could get me if they wanted but I would set a trap so that they would be nailed as well. I was really proud of my trap, it seemed to work really well. There were two stages to it. First of all, on the outside of the door I had a sachet of paper containing pepper, that would be pulled open when the door was opened just a few inches. Then inside, I moved the easy chair to block the door. To get in the assailants would have to push the chair out of the way. When they did, they would pull a string that was attached to a ruler. The ruler would pull away and the bucket of water on the shelf over the door would fall down. Whoever was first would be completely soaked.
I knew it would work, I had evidence. First of all I was fine-tuning the set up of the chair when I pushed it that bit too far. The ruler was pulled out and I was soaked. Then, in the morning the cleaning lady whom I had warned off the day before forgot, opened the door and was showered by pepper.
In fact though, the attack never came. It turned out that everyone had really important exams that week and they let the event pass by. It was postponed till the following year.
Years later I was reading in the Psalms and came to: “Let the wicked fall into their own nets while I pass by in safety”. It dawned on me that I had been the wicked who had laid out a net. Yes God really does let the person who makes a trap fall into it himself. I had personal experience of it! Not only that, but the woman whom I had drawn into the plot was nailed as well. I had always thought that it was those baddies out there who were caught in their own traps. It was hard coming to terms with the fact that I was the wicked man. What a reminder that it is the Lord Jesus we are serving. “Anyone who does wrong will be repaid for his wrong, and there is no favouritism.”
In a way this is an interesting perspective on the sensitivity of Jesus, to us as people. He really cares about our feelings and about the hurts that we give and receive. We have an amazing way of rationalising all of this down to ‘just a bit of fun’ or ‘don’t take it so seriously it’s nothing.’ Yet at least in this situation it was enough for Jesus to take action and give a very pertinent lesson. Even if I did not get the message there and then, twenty years later it has become very meaningful, and I am thankful for it. His justice is not to be mocked. He can and does intervene against the traps set by wicked people – like me.