I seemed to be the only one with short, curly hair when I was growing up. Everyone else had long, thin hair, straight as a board which, as teenagers, made them a whole lot more in style than I was, but as children gave them far more trouble when they got gum in their hair. It created exactly the same matted clumps I see on Chloe. How it happened was always a mystery to me, but I think it was because they kept taking it out of their mouths and playing with it. I remember their mothers going to the freezer for ice, trying to freeze the gum to make it less sticky so they could gradually untangle the chewed mass and pull it out, leaving as much hair as possible. You can also use peanut butter, vegetable oil, or vinegar, but none of my friends thought those worth it. Getting the messy peanut butter or oil out of one's hair would take several washings and who wants to end us smelling like vinegar all day? So ice it was.
Unfortunately, nothing worked for some of them. Eventually their mothers had to get the scissors and cut the gum out, leaving what looked like a hole in their hair, and that usually meant getting a haircut forthwith, just so it wouldn't look so bad. Chloe is lucky—she won't stand still long enough for me to use the scissors on her.
Some of us do worse than getting gum stuck in our hair. The Bible constantly warns us about becoming entangled or snared. A snare in Biblical times often involved a noose, so "entanglement" is an apt word for them as well. Notice these passages:
The graven images of their gods you shall burn with fire: you shall not covet the silver or the gold that is on them, nor take it unto yourself, lest you be snared therein; for it is an abomination to Jehovah your God (Deut 7:25).
You have been snared with the words of your mouth, caught with the words of your mouth (Prov 6:2).
But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1Tim 6:9-10).
And as for what fell among the thorns, they are those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature (Luke 8:14).
Do you see how easy it is to get yourself stuck, tangled, snared, or choked? All your "stuff" can do it—even if you don't think you are rich. All the things that keep you too busy to spend time with the Word. All the things you put before such spiritual obligations as raising your children "in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." Even your own words can trip you up and catch you like an animal in a trap. A "web of lies" comes to mind. We can easily add a "web of excuses."
And getting yourself untangled can be just as messy in a figurative way as getting gum out of your hair. You may have to apply some self-discipline. You may need to humble yourself and make a few apologies. And you may have to get out the scissors and simply cut some things out of your life—or some people, if necessary. When anything becomes more important than service to God, it has snared you and "become an abomination."
Far better to keep things in their proper place, and never let them get hold of your heart. Far better to keep the gum in your mouth and out of your hair.
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first (2Pet 2:20).