In rural India there has been for many centuries a foolproof method for catching monkeys. First the people there cut a hole in a box. Then they place a tasty nut in the box. The hole is just big enough for the monkey to put its hand through. But once the monkey clutches the nut, its fist is too big to withdraw through the hole. So the monkey has two choices: release the nut and go free or hold on to it and stay trapped. Monkeys often elect to hold on to the nut. The monkey’s situation is not unlike our situation when it comes to following Jesus. We sincerely want to follow Jesus more closely, but at the same time we find ourselves holding on to something that keeps us from doing so. For example, the Lord tells us that in Him there is no east or west, no slave person or free, no male or female. What
He means is that we are all equal before God and should see ourselves as brothers and sisters. But too often we persist in treating each other differently based on race or nationality or sex. We can’t see those “other” people as being like us. We hang on to our prejudices even when they keep us from living as the Lord would have us live. And sadly we often hand on our prejudices to our children thus perpetuating the pain and injustices that come from them. Perhaps we should be praying regularly, “Lord, help me to see and to let go of whatever is keeping me from truly following you”.