As Pepe returns to a shadow, so a fool returns to his sin. Based on Proverbs 26:11
I finally have to admit it; my cat, Pepe, really is stupid. My husband has tried to convince me of this for years. But as one of Pepe's greatest fans, I have always retracted my claws, if necessary, to defend him. But now I think I must concede.
It all started with Pepe's fascination for moving shadows. Even if he sees your wiggling finger moving right in front of his face, making a squirmy worm-like shadow on the floor, he falls for it every time, going in for the kill. In fact, he could play this game for hours.
The problem is, Pepe can engage this same behavior, over and over, and get the same result every time. A paw or mouth full of carpet. Nothing more, nothing less. But every time, it's as if he expects a different result. He keeps hoping that this time, he will strike it rich and get his paws or teeth around something he can sink them into.
Sadly, I have noticed that I am no different than Pepe. Just like Pepe's dense behavior, it is also human nature to keep going back to the same empty cycles and the same habit sins, often for many years, hoping for a different result each time. Whether it's looking for satisfaction in the world, or putting hope in an unhealthy relationship, or turning to a habit sin or addiction—we are all Pepe, falling for the same false hope (lies?). Different results never happen, of course. But we keep going back for another try, just in case.
Fortunately, for Pepe, his stupidity is harmless. A little carpet fiber in the teeth is not going to do much to him in the scope of kitty existence. Unfortunately, for us, our stupidity cycles are life-threatening. They threaten to steal the freedom, peace, and authentic future hope that God has reserved in our name. All can be lost for trusting in the empty promises of sin and misplaced hope.
This is exactly what happened to the Israelites. It's why they had to go around a mountain for 40 years, wandering in a dry, dusty, barren wilderness. For most people, this was only an eleven-day trip. But for Israel (and often times for us), it was the lengthy result of stupidity.
For those of us (which is basically all of us, and especially me) who have followed in Pepe's footsteps of the stupidity cycle, it is possible to break out. Yes, it's difficult in the beginning. But we need only make a choice, start over, and learn to ignore the bait—the wiggling finger of false hope—recognizing that if we fall for it, it's not going to be different this time.