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The monkey trap

By Daniel Francis

It is said that you can easily trap a monkey by putting a treat through a small hole in a gourd and tying the gourd in place. Monkeys are inquisitive and they will investigate the gourd.

When they see the treat inside, they will reach their tiny little arms into the gourd and grasp the treat. Unfortunately for the monkey, they are unable to pull their hand out of the gourd while they hold the treat.

No matter how they struggle, they are unable to pull out the treat. Their instincts and their greed won’t allow them to let go of the treat and this is how monkeys were safely captured and relocated in a village in Paraguay.

Upon hearing this story, I immediately thought about the human parallel. I am certain that in each of our lives, there is a ‘treat’ that we hold on to for dear life. We refuse to let go of that treat even though it has us trapped.

What makes it worse is that we are aware it is a trap, we are aware it will lead us to our downfall, but we do not want to let go. Call it greed or instincts or the devil’s influence but we do not want to let go.

The ‘treat’ is not of God and pulls us further and further away from God the longer we hold on to it, yet we persist.

I have had countless conversations with my fellow Catholics about our faith and there is a common denominator in many of these discussions. Through our spiritual journeys, there are things we accept about our religion and there are things we just do not want to accept.

In truth, we do not want to accept certain aspects due to the inconvenient nature of whatever that thing is.

We love God but we are not willing to stop premarital sex. We love God but we are not willing to stop swearing. We love God but we are not willing to love our neighbours as we love ourselves. Especially when the neighbour keeps stealing the mangoes from our tree.

The picking and choosing of what rules and traditions we will and will not follow are no different than the monkeys grasping those treats and refusing to let go to their detriment.

However, there is a glaring difference between us and the monkeys. In the case of the monkeys, they are bound by instincts. Their instincts will not allow them to release the treat. But in our case, we have full control to release our ‘treats’. It comes down to choice.

I believe when it comes to our faith, we should strive to be all in and not one foot in and one foot out. I type this knowing full well how difficult that is and how I have to practise what I preach as well.

We are meant to be servants to the Lord and how can we do that when we are not fully committed? The current environment encourages negative behaviours that we think we cannot change.

That is just a feeling. With God, we can change but change comes with choice. The choice to want to be better. The choice to not want to be trapped by that which is not of God.

Let us not fall for the monkey trap anymore but release our grips and take one step closer to our faith and God.


Daniel Francis is a millennial helping other millennials. He is a two-time author of the books The Millennial Mind and The Millennial Experience, and an entrepreneur. Over the past four years, he has served as a Personal Development Coach whose work targets Millennials and helps them tap into their full potential. He is also a Self-publishing coach and has guided hundreds on self-publishing their book successfully.

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