Wisdom Devotionals

Gunning for Bear

Thursday, March 19, 2020

1 John 1:5-6

This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.

An old Russian parable stirred my thinking about the consequences of sin. One day a hunter was going into the woods for bear, when the bear came around the bend and caught him by surprise. The bear pinned the hunter to the ground and asked him, “What are you looking for?”

The hunter replied, “Well, I’m looking for a bear to kill so I can make a warm fur coat.” The bear then said, “I see. Well, I’m hungry, so perhaps we can negotiate a compromise.” Sometime later the bear ambled away from the scene, leaving the hunter’s cap and gun behind. Both their wishes had come true: the bear had a full stomach and the hunter got his fur coat!

What an interesting parody of the price of sin.  We pursue sin which, in turn, destroys us.  Sin comes at a higher price than we really expect or want to pay.

I knew of a seminary student years ago who found out, too late, that sin would have a life-changing effect.  The bear finally caught up to the hunter—in this case, the student—at the end of his seminary education. To be more precise, it was on the day of graduation when the grisly facts came out.

The student had been living with a young woman who had been convinced that he was studying law.  Throughout his years in seminary, she had believed him.

As the school year ended, she noticed the  books he had packed.  She thought it was strange that they were theology books; when she looked inside, she saw the name of a seminary stamped on the flyleaf of every book. Calling the seminary, she reported that her boyfriend had all those books from the school and asked why. The secretary simply responded, “Because he’s a student here.”

The truth was finally out, and what a hard truth it was for all involved.  The seminary dean and school president waited with her in the apartment until the student came home. He was  confronted about his deception.

On the day this man was meant to graduate, he was, instead, forced to walk away in shame, having wasted four years of his life—and the life of his former girlfriend.

The greater tragedy is there are many more who never are exposed—who lose far more than a graduate degree and a girlfriend. This young man, though shamed and disgraced, was given a chance to repent and turn his life around. God, in effect, graciously closed the jaws of the bear and allowed him to confess his sin and live. 

Frankly, the potential of a “double life” threatens us all every day.  Turn and run from sin—even the slightest temptation. Don’t go gunning for bear; they’re always ravenous . . . and the negotiations never work in your favor.


Prayer Point: Has a certain sin in your life moved from the category of an occasional struggle to a regular habit? Get honest about it today.  Repent; ask others for counsel and help—submit to Christ, who alone can release you from the jaws of danger and destruction.

Extra Refreshment: Read the account in Acts 5:1-18 of two believers who fell into their own trap.