I’m Eventually Going to Eat the Donuts
Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues. Revelation 18:4
I have a self-defeating behavior that you will likely find quite absurd. If I ever see a closed box of donuts at work, I must know what’s inside. I know it’s probably donuts, but I don’t know for sure . . . so I have to look. Do I want to eat the donuts? Yes and no. Part of me wants donuts all the time. There’s another part of me though that wants to eat healthy, which means saying no to the box. Still, I must look, just to know what I’m missing. I may resist once or twice, but the problem is that if I continually look at donuts, I’m eventually going to start eating them.
This is the principle illustrated with the metaphor of Babylon the prostitute in today’s passage. In John’s prophesy, he used Babylon to represent those who abandon God’s way to follow their own self-destructive nature. In the passage, a voice calls from heaven, commanding God’s people to run away, fleeing Babylon. The danger is that those in proximity to her will eventually be sucked into and consumed by her evil.
This is a painful life lesson often learned by those getting out of jail. While incarcerated, they’re sober and they fully intend to stay that way. When they get out though, they return to the old neighborhood, the old friends, and the old lifestyle surrounding drug use. In that environment it’s almost impossible to not use drugs. The only way for them to stay sober is to painfully amputate that part of their life which leads back to drug use.
This is a lesson for all of us. Whatever it is that seduces us into evil must be abandoned if we want to know the freedom for which we were made. This is profoundly difficult though. I’ve known a lot of guys who want to be free from a pornography addiction, yet they simply cannot give up the smart phone on which they indulge in that same pornography. When it comes down to it, they want their smart phone more than they want freedom.
This is the problem with evil. It spreads like a cancer, metastasizing its way into our lives. By the time we realize we want it gone, it’s part of us. To leave it is to amputate part of ourselves. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away (Matthew 5:29). This isn’t easy, but it’s necessary if we genuinely desire to be free from the miserable consequences of our self-destructive nature.
If I want to avoid eating donuts, I must leave the donut box alone.