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Tempting Charlie
Andy Bustanoby
(C) January 29, 2005

     I think I know why everyday life is always coming up with things
     that precipitate some serious self-examination. I have a sensitive
     conscience and an active imagination.

     Take the problem of tempting Charlie. Charlie is a cat, and cats
     can't be tempted. They can't be solicited to sinful behavior. Only
     human beings can. But why was my tempting Charlie bothering me?
     Well, let me tell you the story.

     Whenever Fay (my wife) and I leave the house for several hours or
     more, we always check to see where Charlie is. If we can't find him,
     we figure that he's sleeping somewhere safe and cozy, away from any
     interruption. It might be in a closet or part of the house where
     he's not supposed to be. We want to know where he is to be sure that
     he has access to water and his litter box while we're away.

     I have perfected a method for finding him quickly. Charlie is easily
     tempted by food. Now cat-lovers will say, That's not temptation.
     It's just normal instinct. Well, okay--even though he weighs
     twenty-two pounds!

     But anyway, if I walk through the house and say, Charlie, you want
     to eat, he will usually come out of hiding to see what I have to
     offer. If all else fails, I'll go into the kitchen, open and shut
     the refrigerator and pantry closet, and that will get his attention.
     He thinks, "Ah ha! Noise in the kitchen. Food!"

     Now what's the problem with that? The last time I did it, I was
     reminded of something that the Apostle James said about temptation:

     Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God
     cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every
     man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed
     (James. 1:13-14 KJV).

     This reminder of my vulnerability to temptation stirred my active
     imagination when I tempted Charlie. He came out of hiding, figured
     out what I was doing, and looked at me wide-eyed, as if to say, So,
     playing your games again! Well, I have something to say to you. You
     may tempt me, but I'll never be guilty of sin. Don't you wish you
     could say that?

     See what I mean by a sensitive conscience and an active imagination?

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