Have you ever seen a Chinese finger trap? They are tubes (usually made out of braided strips of paper) where you put a finger in each end and, the harder you try to pull your fingers out, the tighter it latches on.
The brilliance of the trap is that escaping requires you do exactly the opposite of what your brain tells you to. The only way to get free is to stop pulling, push in, and twist.
I haven't played with a Chinese finger trap in years, but I have certainly seen its concept play out in my life. Maybe you have, too. It often comes in the form of a habit, a tendency, or an action - clearly detrimental - that gets harder and harder to change the longer you live with it. You feel trapped. And the more you run away from dealing with it, the tighter the trap becomes.
Maybe it's a lie you've been living.
Maybe it's your refusal to walk away from a toxic friendship.
Maybe it's resigning yourself to a job that forces you to sacrifice your values.
Maybe it's years worth of dishing out verbal or emotional abuse.
Maybe it's an addiction you've been unwilling to admit...even to yourself.
The irony is that the solution to these "trappings of life" comes in doing the exact opposite of what our humanness tells us to. Instinct tells us to hide. To run. To ignore. To rationalize. To settle. To get comfortable with compromise. But Jesus tells us otherwise. In Matthew 11:28 he says, "Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest." (And I can tell you from experience that there is nothing more tiring or burdensome than a guilty conscience.)
Freedom is found not in running away from our sins, but in taking them to Christ and letting him mold and shape us into more-recognizable reflections of himself. It's counter-intuitive, it's counter-cultural, and it's scary...but it's true.
If you're feeling stuck in your own humanity today, remember the two principles of the Chinese finger trap:
1. The harder you pull away, the tighter the trap gets.
2. The only way to get free is to stop pulling, push in, and twist.