Thunk. Splatt. Kapow. Thwack. No, these are not crazy captions from a Batman fight scene. Our family first heard these sounds coming from one of our bedrooms about a week ago. The noise was both eerie and irritating. Upon investigation we discovered that it wasn’t Batman, but his sidekick Robin. Well, actually it was just a robin smashing into the window that I had just windexed.
This went on for days and as I write this he’s still attacking our window. He begins early in the morning and continues until sundown. Wanting to make sure this robin wasn’t trying to get my attention like Edgar Allan Poe’s “Raven,” I decided to think through some life-lessons from the behavior of this red-bellied beast.
But first I did what I often do when I don’t understand something – I “Googled” the phrase “robin attack” and discovered some interesting facts. A robin is very territorial and when he notices his reflection in a window, he gets agitated, raises the feathers on his head and assumes a dominant position.
Normally that’s all it takes for other robins to fly away. Instead of leaving the territory, the reflected robin seems to get equally agitated and assumes the attack position. The first time this happens the real robin goes to his favorite song perch and starts singing. When he doesn’t hear a responding song, he’s more certain that he really is in his own territory.
However, when the robin sees the reflection again, he goes ballistic – and so does the reflection. As the real robin flies toward the window the reflected robin seems to attack as well and then the robin hits the glass. No matter how aggressive the robin gets, the reflection never goes away. And the robin won’t let up either, thus explaining the incessant dysfunctional cycle of our bent-beaked feathered friend.
I see four lessons that we can apply to our lives.
1. Some of us are fighting imaginary battles as we invest our energy in aggressive outbursts against people, who are not really our enemies anyway. We often attack in others what we don’t like in ourselves. I wonder how many times we get upset with people precisely because they exhibit the same tendencies that we have. Kapow.
2. When we unload on others, we get distracted from our purpose in life. When a robin makes war on a window, he forgets to work on important tasks like making a nest, finding food and singing songs. Likewise, when you and I enter into combative conflict with those around us, we stop singing and we disengage from what we’ve been designed to do. Thunk.
3. Fighting people not only hurts others, it hurts us as well. Perhaps you have a sour spirit as a result of what someone has done or said to you. Or maybe you’re resentful at God for what’s happened in your life.
Proverbs 14:10 says, “Each heart knows its own bitterness.” Are you blinded by any bitterness in your life today? Do you have any unresolved anger toward your spouse, your kids, your parents, your boss, a church member or a friend?
When bitterness is allowed to breed, it will always lead to an offspring of antagonism that hurts those around you while destroying yourself in the process. It’s like swallowing a bottle of poison and then waiting for the other person to die. When you and I allow bitterness over the hurts and slights and pains of life to control us, we begin to die a slow death. Thwack.
4. Some of us are caught in a cycle of self-destruction. If our rockin’ robin doesn’t surrender soon, he’ll eventually harm himself. Do you ever feel like you’re caught in a cycle of sin and unholy habits? If you continue in this course, the consequences could have eternal implications. Splatt.
Friend, there’s a way out. Jesus can break your bondage and set you free from your sins. He put it this way in John 8:36: “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” Don’t allow your hurts to turn into hate. You can become bitter or you can get better. The choice is up to you. Put your faith and trust in Jesus as your Savior and determine to follow Him as your King.
I don’t know how much longer our renegade robin will attack our window but I hope he’ll eventually go back to helping around the nest and singing to Mrs. Robin. What about you? Are you ready to do what you’re designed to do? Instead of smacking into your own reflection, with God’s help you can soar above the irritations of life as promised in Isaiah 40:31: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”