I went out to pick a red rose this evening at twilight, and as I carried it, fragrant and lovely, into the house I saw something moving in the bloom. I stepped under the light by the back door, and realized the something was a Japanese beetle enjoying an evening snack.
I took the tip of my garden scissors and tried to disengage the beetle from the rose, only to see another beetle and then, another.
By the time I finished cleaning beetles from the rose there had been six or seven of them (which I stepped on as they fell to the ground) and the rose had lost most of its outer petals to our wrestling match.
I know I'm not anywhere near the first person to think this, but those beetles reminded me of sin, eating away at the heart of something beautiful, which, if left alone, would destroy it utterly.
They were completely hidden when I clipped the rose from the stem. The rose looked perfect from a distance, on the outside. It was only when I held it up close to smell it that I caught a glimpse of the beetles within.
I was so glad I hadn't gotten the rose into the house!
As it was, I left it out on the picnic table in an outside vase.
Sometimes we think sin is hidden away, doing little or no damage. But eventually either the sin is found out, or the damage becomes obvious, or both.