When we moved to the house we live in now there were a couple of wild cats on the property. Fairly common on rural farms. They help control the rodent population. We came in February and it was cold. There was no way my wife could not do something to help them so she began to feed them. One of them would eat in the daylight but if you came anywhere close she was gone like a shot. The other one never ate in the daytime and we almost never saw him. If she was wild, he was wild to the power of 10.
Spring came and apparently spring fever came with it and the now well fed female had kittens. Now we don't know what past experiences the mother had with humans but the kittens were innocent and new.
Growing up we had pet cats and a few litters of kittens. Never were the kittens afraid of us.
I was expecting these new kittens to be fairly easy to catch and tame but boy I was wrong. It was like the fear was bred into them. I found it remarkable that they all knew to come to us for their food but we're terrified of us at the same time. The fear did get less but never to the point that they didn't run when we approached.
One day we found the kittens playing under the deck and one ran into an old plastic water pipe. I seized the opportunity. My son blocked one end and I blocked the other. We had caught our first kitten. There were many ups and downs but teaching that little kitten that she didn't need to fear us was quite the adventure. She clawed us. She caused us harm but not because she was mean. She was simply afraid...
Many argue that humans are born "good" and learn to be "bad". The truth is we are born like our parents and our upbringing can make us better or worse but it can't change our basic nature. Here is how Paul describes it:
Romans 5:12 "Therefore, just as through one man (Adam) sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law.14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come. 15 But the free gift is not like the offense. For if by the one man’s offense many died, much more the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many. 16 And the gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned. For the judgment which came from one offense resulted in condemnation, but the free gift which came from many offenses resulted in justification. 17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Now there are lots of details and nuances we could discuss for a long time but the basic premise is this: Through Adam (and Eve) we inherited fear and shame and an inability to trust. Remember the basic sin we suffer from is unbelief. But just as we received a rotten inheritance through no fault of our own we have received much more through Jesus again through no working of our own. Adam ruined it, Jesus fixed it and His solution is far greater than our sin problem.
If we let Him feed us and care for us day by day like our family did that wild kitten eventually we'll discover there was never anything to be afraid of and no reason to doubt His love. Oh taste and experience that the LORD is good!
See you tomorrow.
P. S. That's our wild kitten sleeping peacefully on my lap. She came and laid down there all by herself because perfect love casts out fear.