Sin Management – playing with fire


  • Grizzlies can run up to 41 mph.
  • Grizzlies can smell carrion nine miles away.
  • Alaskan grizzlies can weigh more than 1,200 lbs and stand 8 feet tall.
  • Grizzlies eat both plants and meat.

Grizzly People founder Timothy Treadwell had lived peaceably without weapons or fire among wild Alaskan grizzlies since the late 1980’s.  From late spring to autumn he immersed himself in these creatures, fascinated by their fearsome power and life patterns.

Treadwell was known for his confidence around bears.  He often touched them, and gave them names. Once he was filmed crawling along the ground singing as he approached a momma bear and two cubs.  Over the years, Park Service officials, biologists and others expressed concern about his safety and the message he was sending. “At best he’s misguided,” Deb Liggett, superintendent at Katmai, told the Anchorage Daily News in 2001.  That same year Treadwell was a guest on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” describing Alaska brown bears as mostly harmless “party animals.”

“You know how people accuse animal rights activists of liking animals better than people?” Treadwell asked. “Well, these bears are so much better than people. They are better than us. They make up a perfect ecological system. They do no damage, they are amazing and beautiful. They are basically peaceful and I would have no life without them.  If Taffy were in danger, I would shield her with my body.”

Could it be said that Mr. Treadwell idolized these bears?

Oct. 9th 2003, ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – The graphic sounds of a deadly bear attack in the Alaska wilderness were captured on tape, revealing a wildlife author’s final, frantic screams as he tried to fend off the beast.  The remains of Treadwell, 46, and Huguenard, 37, both of Malibu, Calif., were found last month at Katmai National Park and Preserve on the Alaska Peninsula.

Rebecca Dmytryk, who oversees an animal rescue organization in Malibu, recalled video footage of Treadwell before his death that showed him in a stream bed near an older bear he nicknamed “Quincy.”

“Quincy, do you remember when you stood over me? You were so hungry, and you should have eaten me, but you didn’t. Thanks for not eating me . . . ”

Timothy Treadwell failed to see the reality of his situation.  He thought he was playing with rationale animals that were better than men.  All the while he was playing with a wild, dangerous creature that could not be tamed.  The result was his death – and the death of his friend.

The warning: (1 Peter 5:8) Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, walks about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Note that Treadwell’s folly cost his companion her life as well.  So a man openly pursuing sin will cost others openly, while a man pursuing sin privately may cost his loved ones openly as well as privately.  The price is high.

Any man not in Christ is prey for Satan, himself a spiritual son of Satan and doomed for a horrible death.  But praise God, for there is hope for such a man!  (Romans 5:8) But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Yet we who are in Christ are continually susceptible to the lust of the flesh – be it sexual, power, ego, fame, or fortune.  (James 1:14-15) each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.  As with Timothy Treadwell and the bears, when you and I try to tame our sin and live with it in peace, we are drawn aside into a vulnerable situation of continual conflict, assuming God’s role and thinking we can manage that which would always destroy us – all the while held fast by Christ (John 10:28) I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.  Mark this – it is the hand of God that holds you, not your own feeble grip.  If it were you and I holding on, we would perish.

And praise the Lord, He provides everything you and I need for life.  (Ephesians 1:3) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.  Along with a caution and a declaration (Colossians 2:8-10) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power.

As you consider yourself or a friend who is caught in sin, there are two admonishments that need to comprehended:

1           Let there be no “pass”, no easy escape without confession or repentance.  Every man is responsible to be the spiritual leader and, as such, has greater responsibility to be true to his calling.  There can be no excuses, no denial when a sacred trust has been destroyed.  If there is love for Christ in you, repentance is required.  (Jeremiah 13:15) Therefore this is what the LORD says: “If you repent, I will restore you that you may serve me.  Also, without repentance, one may convince himself that his actions were not all that bad.  This is self-deception and yet another sin.  (1 John 1:8) If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

2           Let there be no judgment passed on the brother caught in sin.  In truth, none of us is far from the point of departure into the sin of our brother.  (1 Corinthians 10:13a) No temptation has seized you except what is common to man.  This means that our brother’s temptation is common, not far from you and I.

Because of His knowledge of our sinful tendencies, our heavenly Father tells us take actions

  • As individuals: (Proverbs 4:23) Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.
  • With a couple of brothers: (James 5:16a) Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.
  • And corporately, as part of the larger body of Christ: (Hebrews 10:23-25) Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

If your heart is broken over anything, pray that it be broken over your own sin more than anything else.  We are encouraged to put serious effort into forsaking our sin and focusing on Christ, as Christ forsook the myriad temptations Satan brought before Him and focused on doing the will of our heavenly Father.

(Hebrews 12: 1b-2) let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Know this – if your heart be hardened toward your own sin, you cannot please God (Romans 8:6-8) The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.  Those controlled by the sinful flesh cannot please God.

And though you get tired of resisting the flesh – for it never gives up until it dies – do not give up.  (Hebrews 3:13) exhort one another daily, while it is called today; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.

So let us not focus on another’s sin and let us not belittle our own sin.  And let us not be led astray once again by focusing on our sin – for to focus on your sin is to be drawn to it like a moth to a flame.  Let us focus only on Christ, for in Him is life and freedom from sin.  (Galatians 5:16) live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful flesh.  When you fail and become disappointed in yourself, recall these words from Randy Alcorn’s novel, “Edge of Eternity” – “To be disappointed in oneself means you have put confidence in one undeserving of it.  Trust the King, not your ability to follow Him.”

Let the story of Timothy Treadwell  be a warning – a wake-up call for you and I to be ruthless with our sinful desires.  Sin is a wild beast that cannot be tamed.  Like the Grizzly bear, it can appear cute and innocent – it will let you hold it close and get comfortable.  But, like the Grizzly bear, it will one day – without warning – turn on you and devour you.  Sin management is a fantasy.  The truth is you – and I – can’t handle sin.  Sin masters and enslaves those who draw close to it.  Draw close to Christ, for He alone is the master of sin and He alone is able to keep you from being destroyed.

 Honor all men.  Love the brotherhood.  Fear God.

4 thoughts on “Sin Management – playing with fire

  1. We just don’t realize often enough how sin causes utter devastation both to the physical as well as the spiritual. Especially if we have the attitude “I’m basically a good person. I’m not hurting anybody”. Yet all unrighteousness is sin (1Jn.5:17)

    Interesting that you brought the animal world into this topic. It’s a bit ironic that we are the ones who must fear certain types of God’s good creation, because we’re the ones who brought sin and the resultant curse upon creation. And the death that came by sin now comes back upon us from those who did not sin. But I look forward to that glorious day when the lion will lie down with the lamb, and man and animal will live in peace with each other as was in the Garden.


  2. DavidW,

    I wrote this several years ago – shortly after Treadwell was eaten by his “pets”. Such was the reason for the specific animal in this. Yes, sin brought by man has infected everything in creation – no death, in plants, animals – until Adam fell. The fall has left nothing on Earth untouched.

    ‘Tis good to be reminded, in the midst of this sin-sick world, that Christ will come again – to judge the world and make all things new! Thanks for bringing that perspective into this thread.


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