Thursday, July 26, 2007

Kitties and Lobsters (June 2007 article)

Meet Kitty Kowalski. Kitty is charming, attractive, intelligent, pleasant, caring, and sensitive. Some of you may recognize Kitty – she is also known as Lex Luthor’s girlfriend in the recent smash movie Superman Returns. On the surface, she appears to have it all together. She seems to be a “good person” (whatever that means). But, for all Kitty has going for her, she has one major problem: she knows the right thing to do, but lacks the will to do it.

Throughout the movie, we find Kitty constantly struggling internally to make the wise choice. As we watch, we empathize with her. We know how desperately she wants to get out of the evil trap in which she finds herself. She even sympathizes with Superman, and you can tell how full of regret her life has become. You see, she mistakes her poor decision making for loyalty - to Lex Luthor – the man she loves (and hates).

Although this particular example is perhaps a bit too fictionalized, the truth is we have Kitty Kowalski’s living all around us. They are people who desperately want to make wrongs right. They are people whose hearts ache for freedom, but whose lives are held captive by lies – the ones they tell themselves, or the ones they are led to believe by others. Some are abused women who are afraid to seek help. Many are young men and women involved in lifestyles that don’t line up with their belief systems, but refuse to walk away. Some are business leaders who crumble under the pressures at work and compromise their integrity to advance in their profession.

These people all likely have something else in common: they are surrounded by lobsters. You see, when lobsters are caught by fishermen, they are put in baskets in groups. And it’s a documented fact that no lobster will allow another lobster to escape the basket. It simply reaches out with one claw and pulls the other lobster back into the basket. The lobster fisherman no longer needs to keep his eye on his catch. (source: The Valiant – newsletter article/March 1999).

Sobering, isn’t it? People are the same way. When a group is involved in something illegal, unjust, or sinful, they make it nearly impossible for someone to “escape.” They pull them back in the basket. And, the truth is, the enemy designed it that way. And, he deceives us into thinking we can’t get out.

You know, Jesus was right on the money when He said “the spirit is willing but the body is weak.” He was facing the most grueling temptation of his 33-year life on earth. The enemy was tempting Him to walk away from His father’s plan – a plan that included humiliation, torture, shame, and ultimately death on a cross. It was so tempting, in fact, that He begged his heavenly Father to reconsider three times while He was in the garden that night. But, thankfully, Jesus didn’t cave in. He prayed, and He asked His best friends to pray for Him.

Perhaps you find yourself in a similar situation. You are trying to crawl out of something you just don’t want to be a part of anymore, but you have lobsters pulling you back. It may be time to do what Ed Young, Jr. calls a “friend-entory.” That means taking a close look at those you consider friends, and it also means taking a look at yourself to see what kind of friend you are to others. Are your friends pulling you in the right direction, or are they holding you back? Are you an encouragement to your friends, or a hindrance? Are you a reflection of God’s image, or have you become a barrier that prevents others from seeing His glory?

Now is the time to finally get out of the basket and swim freely in the ocean God has awaiting for you. It may not be an easy escape, but God will be there to guide you along – if you give Him the chance.

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