I recently read the story of a woman in Tennessee, a homemaker who decided to paint her back porch.

While in preparation to do the task, she realized that in order to protect the floor she needed to cover it up, so she carefully placed around the edges a strip of clear tape — the kind with adhesive on both sides. It was her plan to place a drop cloth over the floor and secure it with the tape. Having succeeded in placing the tape around the entire surface, she went back inside the house to get a drop cloth.

Sometime later, after locating her supplies, the woman returned and found that all of her carefully placed tape was gone. She certainly knew that she had spent time painstakingly placing the tape in preparation for the cloth, so she was completely mystified. Where could the tape have gone? Who would possibly have taken the time to pull up that tape, and why?

As she was surveying the situation and mulling over her puzzling predicament, she noticed something moving in her backyard.

Looking more closely, she discovered that the moving object was a snake. It was a rather large creature of its species but it was no threat to her. It was hopelessly immobilized by being totally enmeshed in a large ball of Scotch tape.

Evidently, while Mrs. Cannon was in the house, the snake had crawled up on the back porch and had eased itself onto the tape with the adhesive on both sides. Sensing that the tape was sticking to its skin, the snake obviously put up a terrible struggle. In doing so, it pulled every bit of tape from the floor. The harder it fought, however, the more hopelessly it became entangled in its adhesive prison until it was totally captive.

Not that I am personally a fan of snakes, but that poor snake reminds me of many people I have known. Somewhere along the way, they have made serious mistakes. Then, rather than calmly analyzing their situations and correcting their courses, they have reacted impulsively. Soon, their lives are like that snake. The more they struggle, the more entangled they become until eventually they are totally immobilized psychologically, emotionally and spiritually.

How is it possible to escape being ensnared from our sins and our mistakes? The Hebrew writer gives us a glimpse of the answer when we read in Hebrews 12 the following:

”Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” (Hebrews 12:1-3, emphasis added).

This week, if you feel like the entangled snake emotionally and spiritually, remember that you have the ability to throw off what traps you by looking to Jesus and considering the lengths he went to in order to set you free.

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