While relaxing in my home a while back, I screamed as I watched a tiny fur creature run across my living room floor. A mouse! My dog, not at all doing her job, seemed unphased as the tiny creature scurried past. I, on the other hand, was immediately stirred to action.
My first effort was “humane” traps. I caught a mouse, squealed and grimaced as I put the trap in a paper bag and drove it a few miles away to try to release it into the wild (apparently if you take them far enough away they don’t come back to your house). I thought I was safe.
Unfortunately, not long after, another mouse (or the same smart one?) showed up. And it only got smarter. Humane traps no longer fooled the little rascal. I tried peanut butter. Different styles of traps. But to no avail. The mouse left signature droppings in its wake and I got more grossed out by the day.
I moved to phase 2. Exterminators. We tried to identify any possible areas mice could be entering. I soon discovered a little mouse family was probably invading through the crawl space under my home, likely using it as a little nesting area. It was now war. We stuffed copper wire. We sprayed foam in cement crevices. We used sticky traps. If a mouse was caught, I called friends to dispose of said sticky traps (I have my limits…).
I should say that I have no problem with all of God’s little creatures enjoying life freely outside my home. But let me be clear—a mouse IN MY HOUSE is something else entirely. When that threshold is crossed, I only have a few words—GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE!!
As I’ve done battle against these little invaders, I admit it reminds of the little pests that try to take up residence in my life, or the lives of those I work with. Perhaps little addictions, toxic beliefs and thought patterns, emotionally unhealthy relationships…They seem to enter innocently enough—through vulnerable cracks, open doors, unstable foundations, etc. But once in our “home,” they become not only a nuisance but a threat to peaceful existence. They distract us, require time, energy, and money to address. And even when we begin to think we’re taking ground, we live with a bit of hypervigilance—fearing a time they might creep in again.
Like my first attempts at getting rid of these mice, it can be helpful to realize that sometimes, polite/ kind treatment is not enough. We must have a little more zeal, doing more forceful battle against these areas of our lives—exercising the strength of our will, demanding that these pests “get out of our house!!” Despite being worn out, instead of resigning ourselves to the invasion, we can be stirred to do battle and exercise the greater strength that we have.
This “righteous violence” reminds me a bit of Jesus, as recounted in Mark 11. In this passage, Jesus visits the temple in Jerusalem, only to realize that instead of a dignified, Holy, reverential and worshipful home, these temple grounds had been invaded by “pests”—ones seeking to take up residence and occupy this home for their own agenda.
In this case, Jesus is not polite, nor does He engage in conversation or pleasantries. With no fear, zeal overcomes Him and He drives all of these ones out of the temple, restoring this Home to its original purpose—a place of prayer for all the nations. He does not battle because He is inherently angry or aggressive—but because He has the true vision of what this home is for—a temple created for proper worship!
The same could be said for our lives. The “little robbers” that take up residence cannot be placated, tolerated, or fed. We must do battle where we can, and when necessary, invite others to aid in the extermination. If you need help identifying and routing those pests, I hope that we at the Center for Healing can help you in doing battle—for the sake of a cleaner and more peaceful home.
Abbey Foard MA, LPC, NCC