Dead Animals and Sin: Why Joseph Wallenda Fell
Are you ever driving along, singing and enjoying the sunshine, when you see a dead animal up ahead, and you know you don’t want to look – it’s going to be awful and gross – so you say, “don’t look, don’t look,” but then at the last second you look? And you are so sorry you looked and don’t know why you can’t stop from looking.
I think that’s what happens when we try to keep from sinning. We are saying to ourselves, “don’t sin, don’t sin,” but then at the last second we do. And we feel like such failures and wonder why we don’t have any self-control.
I figured out how to keep from looking at the dead animals. Someone told me to focus on one of the stripes on the road. So now I just tell myself where to keep my focus instead of where NOT to look. It made all the difference.
I think this is what we need to do with sin, too. It can’t be our focus. Remember the post I wrote a few months ago about Mary Ingalls from The Little House books? She had learned how to be good by not thinking about anything but God’s goodness. Go back and read what she says if you don’t remember. It was a profound thought, one that young readers completely miss and only the adults catch.
Shortly after writing that post, I heard an interview with Joseph Wallenda’s widow. Joseph was head of the Flying Wallendas who performed incredible high wire acts, but there were occasionally tragic falls. Joseph, who started performing at age 17, never lost his balance until a walk in 1973. His wife said the only difference between that walk and all the others was that this time he was thinking about not falling, rather than walking.
What a small, but significant, difference. It was all about what he focused on. It’s the positive vs. the negative. The mistake vs. the success. Life vs. death. The me-focus vs. the God-focus.
So the question is “What are you focused on? Where are you looking?”
“Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, . . . Let us fix our eyes on Jesus.” Hebrews 12:1,2