As a child, my mother was raised in the home of a minister with five other siblings. Her older sister was just a few years ahead of her but they were complete opposites. As teenagers, my grandfather instructed his daughters that when they walked downtown pass the local bar, that they were to cross to the other side of the road so as not to draw the attention of the patrons inside. My mother dutifully obeyed. However, my Aunt Lois thought it was a silly rule and would even stop at the door to wave to the men inside. She loved the attention they gave her.

My mother was married for over 50 years to my father, had three boys, and eight grandchildren, and 10 great grandchildren. She passed 6 years ago having lived a full and complete life. My aunt, though a very sweet and loving woman, lived with and married several men throughout her life. One physically abused her and another husband committed suicide. No one knows exactly why two siblings, raised in the same house with the same rules, could turn out so differently. But I suspect that it went back to those early days and which side of the road each one choose to walk on.

In Proverbs 7, Solomon describes a very similar situation concerning a young man who flirts with disaster by wandering down the street of a promiscuous woman. Descriptive in his analysis, he tells us how the young man knowingly wanders close to her home and then is dragged into a situation that destroys his life. Solomon concludes the scenario like this:

24 So listen to me, my sons,
and pay attention to my words.
25 Don’t let your hearts stray away toward her.
Don’t wander down her wayward path.
26 For she has been the ruin of many;
many men have been her victims.
27 Her house is the road to the grave.
Her bedroom is the den of death.
— Proverbs 7:24-27

What are you flirting with that has been the ruin of so many before you? And why do you think you'll be exempt from its harmful effects when it's destroyed others? Whether it's sexual sin, like this young man was tempted with, or substance we use for pleasure, or even improperly handling finances or resources, no one is exempt from succumbing to temptations that we knowingly put ourselves into close proximity with.

If we're smart, we'll cross to the other side of the road and not flirt with disaster. In fact, the wise thing to do would be to not even go down that road.  

Lord, help me to never knowingly venture near temptation but instead, live wisely by avoiding the traps that others have been caught by.

READ Proverbs 7