The Boys treed a squirrel the other day. When I got home from work they were barking and dancing around the large cottonwood tree just off the patio. Two of the smaller limbs hung against the trunk, the obvious result of the bigger boy trying to get to the furry rodent.

By the way, “The Boys” is our collective name for Boone and Remi. Boone is Wayne’s 80 pound yellow lab and Remi is Mark’s 11 pound shelter dog. They are great friends.

I have no idea how long the squirrel had been in the tree but while I stood there trying to decide what to do, it leaped to the ground and took off across the back yard with Boy #1 in hot pursuit. With Boone just inches away the squirrel jumped into the globe willow near the back fence and hustled to the upper branches.

When Boy #1 reared up on the small tree he reached halfway to where the squirrel sat. The squirrel barked; Boy #1 barked and howled; Boy #2 yipped and circled; and several neighborhood dogs even joined the chorus. (You can see a short video clip of the scene here.)

After several minutes of this circus, I finally decided something had to be done before my willow tree became a casualty of war. I put Boy #2 in the house. Then I dragged Boy #1 by the collar to the patio and held him there to give the little furry fellow a chance to escape.

After several minutes the squirrel began to inch down the trunk of the willow.  Then, finally, it jumped to the ground. Unfortunately, I lost my grip on Boy #1 and off he went to catch his prey. The squirrel had plenty of time and in what I naively assumed was an attempt to escape, it climbed the 6 foot wooden fence and scurried along the top. But to my amazement, instead of leaping to safety on the other side, it hopped into one of two Bradford Pear trees in the corner flower bed.  (These two trees are even smaller than the willow.)

Focused on his mission, Boy #1 thundered into the flower bed plowing over small shrubs as he went. The squirrel hopped from one pear tree to the other and back again with Boy #1 doggin’ every step. The trees whipped from one side to the other as the chase continued. The squirrel could have easily jumped to the fence at any time but instead it hit the ground and took off back towards the house with Boy #1 not far behind. When the squirrel reached the cottonwood tree back up it went and we were right back where we started.

My son Mark got home about that time. After he put Boy #1 in the house he “took care” of the trespasser. With the evil rodent gone the Boys could go back outside without fear of being tormented. However, Boy #1 likes to keep up his guard. For the rest of the evening he sat under the cottonwood, looking up into its branches. Just in case.

I wish I was as determined about keeping sin out of my life as Boone is about keeping squirrels out of the yard. Sin is serious. Often getting rid of sin requires extreme measures.  Jesus said “if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away” (Matthew 5:30). Jesus used hyperbole to emphasize the danger of allowing sin in our lives. We must get cut it out of our lives. And we must guard ourselves from new temptations. In Matthew 26:41, Jesus told the disciples to “watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.” Sin will torment us if we don’t constantly and carefully guard our hearts and minds.

What sin do you need to “dog” today? What temptation requires a little extra guard duty?

For a great article about repentance click here.

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