|Found a peanut, found a peanut!|
My experience: I was driving through my neighborhood a few days ago when two small squirrels rushed into the street in front of me from either side. I slowed a bit to allow them both to quickly get out of the way, like most squirrels know to do, but they both loitered in the middle of the road. So I pressed my brakes a little harder, giving them even more time to get out of my tires' path of impending doom. They finally scampered off the road, alive to chase each other up and down our neighborhood's pines for another day, all thanks to my merciful benevolence. For a few seconds I congratulated myself on not sacrificing the squirrels to the whims of my not-so-pressing schedule. But then I realized the more likely reality: by allowing those dumb adolescent squirrels to live I had inadvertently weakened the local squirrel gene pool. Perhaps the two survivors will now survive to maturity and have the chance to pass on their lack of a healthy fear of minivans. Those incautious squirrels will also continue to compete with other, smarter squirrels for resources. The wheels of my Toyota Sienna could have been the instruments of ecological harmony and justice, but instead I allowed my misplaced sense of mercy to allow two genetic scabs to exist one day longer in the delicate biome that is the Garden Oaks subdivision.
This is where I would clarify that this isn't a metaphor about eugenics or evolution (save that for the fringe BYU biology professors), but rather a parable the helps us see how allowing weaknesses (however cute and fluffy and seemingly harmless) to fester in ourselves ultimately weakens us as a whole. We shouldn't have pet (punny!) sins or weaknesses that we allow to survive because we think they're funny or something that makes us interesting. Obviously there are seasons in our lives when we are focusing on different areas of our character, but that doesn't mean we look at a neglected area of our souls and rejoice that it's still not where it should be. It's one thing to acknowledge your weaknesses--and I'm all for self-deprecating humor--but it bugs me when people point to their flaws like they are badges of self-identity and coolness, like they're saying, "Look at all these awesome dumb squirrels I haven't killed, yet! Aren't I great?" All the while those dumb squirrels are breeding and taking resources away from the strong squirrels in your metaphorical ecosystem soul.
Be righteous. Run the squirrel over.