Poison Ivy
By Van Walton

“… watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” Genesis 4:7b” (NLT)

My friend Wendy brought her children and their friends to my house for several hours of play in the backyard pool. We chatted while they entertained themselves.

I remember observing young Griffin’s curious mind as he ventured into the woods. His busy and energetic body refused to adapt to the games the other children wanted to play. Following his heart, he crept out of the pool and found purpose after strolling around the yard. For a few minutes he handed branches to my husband, helping him feed the chipper. Then he picked up a rake. In no time he began to change the landscape. He cleared a path for my dog and piled leaves creating a soft bed. He set stones in place creating a protected space for the food dish and water bowl.

What an industrious boy! He amazed me with his vision, strength, and positive attitude. I wanted him to come live with me - surely his presence would keep the atmosphere in my home lively. I remember thinking, “What a good boy!”

When he completed his project he asked, “Would you like to see what I did?” In single-file we followed him, listening attentively as he pointed out each accomplished task.

Then I spotted it. I never expected to find what I stumbled upon while admiring my newly landscaped yard. My delighted heart turned to dread, for there surrounding all of Griffin’s hard work … was Poison Ivy!

My countenance grimaced and my stomach flip-flopped.

Innocently, without suspecting, Griffin had walked through a bed of nasty plants. Never mind that he was involved in good works or that He had done nothing wrong. He had not purposefully stepped into a bad place. It just so happened that the vine had crawled along the ground, hiding under dead leaves and climbing tree trunks, camouflaged by other clingy vegetation.

We had no idea whether Griffin had come in contact with the evil poison. Regardless, we had to devise a plan to protect him from the outcome: miserable days filled with an itchy rash.

I grabbed Wendy and told her to get Griffin into the tub. Mixing a concoction we hoped would bring relief, we doused that unsuspecting boy. We rid him of any residue that might leave its painful mark.

The encounter with the poison ivy reminded me that not a day goes by that we don’t step out into life with a plan to accomplish our goals. We may set out to do good things, to change the world, and to serve others. But what we don’t realize is, temptation and sin can be just around the corner looking to grab hold of us and spread its poison all over our best-laid plans.

We need to know and teach our children what poisonous plants look like. But even more, we need to teach them to recognize sin and run from it. Even a minor brush with sin can leave its poisonous mark.

Thankfully, when we get too close to sin, we can rid ourselves of its toxins by confessing to Jesus and asking for His cleansing.

Dear Lord, You have taught me many lessons about sin. I know it’s seriousness, and how it prowls around seeking to destroy me. I know first-hand how easily we can fall prey to its creepy deception. Please forgive my sins and give me the wisdom to recognize sin ahead of time and flee. Help me influence the young ones in my life and teach them the truth about sin. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources
Visit Van’s blog

From the Pound to the Palace by Van Walton

Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman: Lies that got me there, Truths that brought me back by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz

Little Halos, a teaching tool for parents created by Van Walton

Application Steps
Soldiers prepare for the enemy by learning their foes’ tactics. Take time to teach your children about the nature of sin.

Without frightening my children, have I explained sin and its consequences?

What common situations in the daily life of my children can I use to warn them about sin?

Power Verses
Matthew 24:22, “For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect…” (NIV)

2 Corinthians 7:1, “…let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (NASB)

Titus 2:4, “He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.” (NLT)

© 2008 by Van Walton. All rights reserved.


Blogger Amy Carroll said...

What a powerful word picture! I'm going to remember this principal for a long time, and I'm challenged to share it with my boys. Thank you!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When is it a good age to teach and warn children about sin? My son turned two a couple months ago, and I don't know if he will be able to understand and absorb it. All he knows is when he does a bad deed, there are consequences for it.

Blogger Van said...

"When is it a good age to teach and warn children about sin?" That is a fabulous question and I am sure many wise mothers out there in bloggy land have some great thoughts! I am going to give this question some serious tought and prayer and post some ideas and experiences on Sunday. Come over to my blog and visit me where we can get a coversation going on this topic! www.vanwalton.blogspot.com.See you Sunday!

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