A tiny-but-pretty caterpillar. Striking colour scheme, well-groomed hair clumps. Must be a very popular member of the community. Well, actually… not so much.
The colour scheme with black and red, the bristling haircut- these are danger signals to any passing predator. “Attack me at your own Risk!”
Even the hairs have a defensive purpose. Highly irritant, they can cause skin problems and even breathing difficulties in the sensitive. You have been warned.
Spotting danger signals is a valuable life skill. Don’t tangle with anything or anyone capable of effective self-defence! Birds learn fast. The bright colours on insects are often a warning about having a revolting taste, or a potent venom.
We appreciate the colour and beauty of small creatures like this- but the warning is for us too. Keeping children or pets away from hazards like this is a full-time job.
Let’s shift focus for a moment. We are perhaps reading our Bible, and finding it easy to catch hold of the nice promises, the “shiny bits” of the message of God’s great Love given through Christ. These are such a blessing! Promises of forgiveness, comfort in our struggles, a spiritual “family” that surrounds us with grace.
Being loved and accepted is FANTASTIC. But in with these glorious confident promises, there are warnings. Most of us prefer to gloss over them, but we need to pay attention. We have been warned. Take the teaching of Jesus about Godly forgiveness: we are exhorted to forgive those who have hurt us, and then God will forgive us. But the very next line warns us about being unforgiving. Take some time today to think about both being forgiving and being forgiven.
If we think we can dictate terms to God, we have a wake-up call on the way. You’ve been warned… have you seen the danger? And taken steps to avoid the peril?
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT2)
“If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you.
But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.”