A Catch Too Big

January 21, 2021
Volume 25, Number 3

You may be familiar with the idiom, “I’ve got a tiger by the tail.” It’s not hard to figure out what it means: if you happen to latch onto a tiger’s tail, what do you do next? If you let go, it will turn on you and maul you. You have quite a dilemma to deal with – that’s what the idiom means. (Buck Owens had a big hit with a song by this title years ago.)

Some fisherman in India may have had dreams of a big catch when he put out a net earlier this week in the Mysuru District. Later an elephant was found to be tangled in the net, unable to free itself. It took a team of several men from the fire department eight hours to extricate the elephant. In the end the pachyderm climbed up the bank of the reservoir and trotted safely back into the forest. It should be noted that the area was restricted, and attempts to fish there are illegal.

A 1987 film, “Fatal Attraction”, has this type of dilemma at the heart of its storyline. A man has an affair, but the woman is unwilling to give him up, even though he has a wife and daughter. The woman is obviously psychotic, and lives are endangered. The situation was obviously “a catch too big” for the man who was only looking for temporary pleasure. (I’m happy to report I’ve never seen this film!)

God’s word helps us to avoid taking hold of a tiger’s tail. In telling of the faith of Moses, for example, we learn that he chose “rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin” (Hebrews 11:25). That’s an important concept to imprint in our minds: sin can be very pleasurable, but it’s all “fleeting”. Just ask the man in “Fatal Attraction”.

Some mock the Bible for its warnings about sin. It’s important to remember, however, that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23). Just as a life of using intoxicating substances will lead to serious outcomes, so it is also true that “your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23). One day we’ll find an elephant standing in our net!

Isaiah 64:6 communicates this truth well: “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; we all fade as a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.”

Envision a dried leaf in autumn as it prepares to fall from the tree. “Down there is the spot where I will land,” it may boast. But the wind will have something to say about the landing spot. The leaf is powerless against such a force, just as we are powerless to free ourselves from the nets of sin.

God warns us about sin because He loves us. It’s far better to refrain from taking hold of the tiger’s tail than to cry out later when we’re about to be destroyed!

Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.


Copyright, 2021, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).

“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.

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