The Open Door
by Janice Price
There was a moment of panic when I walked into the living room. Crystal, the oldest male cat, was sitting on the wrong side of the front screen door. Obviously, I had locked but not properly closed the door after I accepted a package from the Federal Express delivery man.
The door was ajar and Crystal was turning his head slowly back and forth, looking past the front porch steps and then back into the house. He has been a house cat for all but the first few weeks of his life, and although he is the top cat inside, his outdoor survival skills have dulled after six years of his food being served in a bowl. Also, he wasn’t wearing a collar with his rabies tag attached, so he would be fair game for an Animal Control Officer to pick him up as a stray if he wandered off to see the outside world.
While Crystal’s head was still turning slowly from the porch steps to inside the house as he contemplated which direction to go, I calmly walked over and brought him inside. He accepted this without a fuss, content to have the decision made for him.
The moment of panic turned into a smile as I thought of how we all have to make decisions at open doors at various times in life. When we are young, our parents watch over us and make decisions for us, assuming the role of protector and conscience, but their goal should be to teach us to make responsible decisions on our own.
One of your classmates offers you a cigarette. You know it’s addictive and bad for your health. The door is ajar. Do you light the cigarette or do you say, “No, thanks.”
Well, you made the wrong choice that time. Now you are a new parent. You know second-hand smoke is unhealthy for your baby. The door is ajar again. Will you make the right choice this time?
You take your first drink and then a second. Now your drinking is tearing apart your family and interfering with your ability to do your job. The door is ajar. Will you continue in denial of your problem or will you take that first step to get help?
Your email box fills with spam messages daily. Many of the messages have lewd titles in the subject lines. Are you going to delete all of the messages without opening any of them? The door is ajar to temptation. Which side of the door will you choose?
Are you a drug addict, a wife beater, a child or elder abuser, a chronic liar, hard-hearted and unforgiving, an adulterer, a slacker, a workaholic, or a – (fill in the blank)? If so, you have stood at the open door and made wrong choices that have affected your own life and the lives of those around you. Perhaps you are reaping the physical consequences of your actions: you are serving a prison sentence, your mate has left you, your children or your entire family have cut you out of their lives.
God does not take sin lightly, yet He has made provision for repentance, forgiveness and newness of life. We all make numerous choices, some good and some we would prefer to forget. Some we can never forget because repentance and forgiveness of sin does not pay the physical death penalty for a murderer or pay the physical debt to society for another crime. We can’t undo any physical, mental or emotional damage we have inflicted on others either.
In Revelation 3:20, Christ says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, “I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”
I scooped up Crystal while he was still debating which side of the open door he wanted to be on and trying to work up the courage to explore the unknown. I’m past the point where someone else can make decisions for me. I have to make my own decisions and take responsibility for them.
I make a lot of mistakes and it might be hard for others to tell sometimes, but I know which side of the open door I want to be on - the same side as Jesus. What about you?
© 2005 Janice Price