The Uninvited Roommate

We have a mouse in our apartment.  At least, we hope we have a mouse in our apartment and not multiple mice living among us.  On the bright side, it is a small mouse; however, small as it may be, it still has the power to startle my wife and family at will.  It has been seen dashing under the hinges of open doors and scurrying across the floor into a gap between the dishwasher and the cabinet.  This little mouse is, more or less, a nuisance, diverting our attention from the television or from conversation when it is seen out of the corner of our eyes.  That said, this little mouse may be an indication of a larger ‘infestation’ and must be dealt with.

Metaphorically, I have a great deal of little mice in my house: they are the seemingly inconsequential things called temptations.  They distract and derail my mind if they are not properly addressed as the damaging dangers they are.  They reveal themselves during the idle times of my life since I do have instant access to those little graphic images of a prurient nature or an app on my phone that enables me to procure doughnuts at a moment’s notice.  But, unlike the pesky mus musculus that might chew through an electrical wire or contaminate your cookie supply, temptation will (if unchecked) drag you off and destroy your life.

… but each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desire and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  James 1:14-15

Unlike the house mouse, which infiltrates the boundaries of our abodes and then wreaks havoc, temptation is formed within the walls of our soul through the development of a desire for immediate gratification through the things of the world.  That desire becomes an obsession, that obsession becomes a sinful act and that sinful act becomes a sinful pattern, which leads to spiritual death.  While I can tolerate the presence of a little rodent without much concern for the repercussions, it would be foolhardy to allow temptation of any type to take up residence in my heart because the consequences are so dire.

To deal with the issue, I must ask: what is the mouse trap for temptation or the rat poison for desire?  I believe the remedy to temptation has three aspects: recognize the truth about you, remember the provision of God and resist any inferior substitutes.  First, recognize the truth about you – your weaknesses, your strengths and your blind spots – so that you are aware of the dangers before they surface.  Then, remember the provision of God – the abundance of life, truth and love – and trust His will for you.  Finally, resist the innate desire to accept anything inferior – what is quicker, easier or cheaper – to God’s very best.   If we know, for example, that we are tempted to bear false witness (i.e., lie), we can resist that temptation by being aware of our inclination, remember God’s equipping us to share the truth and reject the temporary comfort through ‘gilding the lily’.

We all have things we need to deal with in order to keep our home healthy and whole … whether it be a (hu)man or a mouse.


One response

  1. Hi Mike —

    Loved your article!! I couldn’t help thinking that an Edward Gorey title would have been more appropriate: “The Uninvited Guest”. What a genius he was and a fine artist. We and my son have been to his old house on 6A in Barnstable a fair number of times.

    Of relevance:

    Several years ago we were sitting in the LR watching a DVD on a cold early winter’s evening when Marie startled and said, pointing into the foyer, “Look … a mouse!”. Sure enough, a mouse was walking about the foyer and LR entry, seemingly self-assured, confident, curious. I watched it explore the DR, then into the kitchen. I grabbed a large wide-necked bottle and a trash card of the type we, maybe like you, receive touting all manner of physical and mental cures. I walked with the mouse around the DR and kitchen, then snapped the jar over it, being careful not to sully its tail, slid the card under the jar, and had the mouse trapped.

    After we both scrutinized it, Marie, ever of the wonderful soft heart, suggested that I drop it outside. The temperature was low 40’s at that time so I went to the huge “pudding stone” in the back yard and deposited the mouse in a secluded part under the rock and wished this beautiful creature well … but not in our house.

    Yes … they’re a very attractive God’s creature but it seems that He has given them a free will to do whatever they want to do in an atavistic fashion.

    I purchased a small Zenith radio console from a person in RI five years ago. When I had the luxury os a very close examination after arriving home, I discovered that the radio was fully a Mouse Motel. The insulation of many wires under the chassis had be chewed off, stripped. Huge amounts of fluff was their home. Much of the metal chassis was stripped of its factory protective coating from the acid in the mouse pee. Two desiccated bodies were discovered within the motel “fluff”.

    I removed the chassis, speaker (in excellent condition) and grill cloth (smelly) to discover the chassis board reeking. Worked on it for a year to no avail: the pungent mouse odor was had soaked too much into the wood. Had to toss the cabinet to the curbside.

    Since then I’ve seen a few more radios with severe mouse pee damage, several of my purchases and friends’.

    Amazing how this little creature of God can be so destructive … but they are certainly cute … in a cage or in the wild.

    See you tomorrow, maybe have lunch together?

    Best wishes to you and your family, always.



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