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No Joke

Those of you who know me know that I HATE practical jokes!  I just don’t think that laughing at someone else’s expense is okay, probably because I wasn’t raised in a family that did that sort of thing.  When an old friend told me that she’d once put fake doggie poop in the floor of her son’s room, I was confused.  Why in the world would you do that?

There are a few harmless pranks that I approve of, however, one of them being the old dollar bill on a string gag, and I’m happy to report that the next generation has fully embraced this one as well as the invisible tug-of-war rope stretched across the road.  I actually tried this one at my friend Angie’s house once.  If I remember correctly, we got one car to stop and were so proud.

Yes, these two timeless pranks will live on, but the boys I observed this morning might need a little coaching.  As I approached them in my vehicle, one boy “dropped” a dollar bill onto the ground from about a foot above (he squatted to ensure proper placement in the exact center of the street) then walked about ten feet away before darting behind the front end of a parked pickup Dick Van Dyke style.

Subtle.

Meanwhile, his friend leaned against the tailgate, blocking my view of the license plate, a fishing pole hanging nonchalantly from his right hand.  When I didn’t rush out of my car to grab the dollar bill that was cinched in the middle like a bow-tie, he gave the pole a flick, causing the dollar to flutter and scoot closer to him.

Um….okay.

I smiled and drove over the dollar then looked in my rearview mirror.  The young fishermen looked genuinely disappointed that I wasn’t interested in making a meal out of a wounded dollar. Too many hours on the pond, I guess.

If only the enemy were so bungling and benign.

Though Jesus has given us the ultimate victory over the devil, we’ve got to watch our step, or we’ll fall into one of the devil’s traps.  They are well-placed and difficult to detect.  Sure, he strings out dollar bills and glues quarters to the pavement, so to speak, in the form of drugs, sexual promiscuity, thievery, murder, etc.  It’s fairly easy to recognize and steer clear of bait like that.

But the devil is more than a trapper.  He’s a hunter, out to kill, steal, and destroy, and he knows how to turn the herd.  He uses us against one another, and, most of the time, we don’t even realize that we’ve helped to bring a brother or sister down.

Gossip. Jealousy. Slander. Pride. Malice. Deceit. Lust. Self-righteousness.  This is the bait we take, the poison we swallow, the acid that eats us up from the inside out.  Our conversations are laced with it.  We feed it to each other.

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