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One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

August 21, 2006

“How is this responsibility mine?,” I was thinking.

My boyfriend, Navin’s, friend had just dropped off his betta fish for a month. While he was vacationing overseas, Navin’s friend had asked him to keep this nameless fish alive. Navin had assumed that I would do my good girlfriend duty and take over the babysitting job with no questions asked.

“Babe, I told him that you would watch his fish, OK?,” I had just been informed.

Since I’ve had the privilege of being able to come and visit some of you personally this summer, I’ve had to explore alternative pet care options for my own fish, though.

With my roommate away most weekends, Navin was the perfect victim…err…candidate. He didn't know that not only would I not be the one caring for his friend's betta, but now, he had two to fish to care for in my absence.


A couple days later, I plopped my fish, Fuego, down on the card table in Navin's kitchen where the other fish bowl was already sitting.

I couldn’t even see the other fish inside of his cloudy bowl filled with brown water, though. Navin swore that he had arrived that way and since he didn’t have instructions for cleaning or changing water, he dared not do anything that would compromise the fish’s vitality.

Taking his word for it, I went about the deciphering the fish from his putred living environment. His fins and scales were covered with a disturbing brown film called fin rot and he wasn't swimming around very much. Next to this sad sight, my sprightly betta's bowl looked palatial! The water was clean, there were small artificial plants to hide in and bright blue gravel gleamed from the bottom.

“Where’s your bleach?,” I asked Navin matter-of-factly.

I had intended to just drop off my own fish, but seeing this travesty had forced me to extend my sojourn.

“It’s downstairs with the laundry,” he replied. After pausing, he continued. “What do you need it for?”

Returning with bleach in hand a few minutes later, I was ready to show Navin.

I carefully removed the nameless Betta and put him in a small drinking cup. Then, grabbing some paper towels in my gloved hands, I began scrubbing the bowl and the gravel with bleach.

“No way!,” Navin reacted to the glimmering crystal clean glass that began to emerge. Delighted, he asked me, “That’s all you have to do?”

I’m so thankful that we have a Heavenly Father who’s not willing to let us swim in our own sinfulness and filth. Much like a little bleach in a fish bowl, he’s just waiting to cleanse us with His purifying salvation. Micah 6:8 says, “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

“That’s all you have to do?”

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