Non-indigenous Threats



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I live in Southern New Jersey, and over the past 18 months we’ve seen a large influx of something called spotted lanternflies (SLF).

Now, for those of you not familiar with these little bugs, SLF’s are neither a fly nor a moth, but a non-indigenous species of insect that lives in China, India, and Vietnam.

These bugs show up everywhere (the woods, city, backyards, etc.) but are not dangerous to humans or aggressive. In fact, they are actually very beautiful as far as bugs go, possessing very colorful wings.

Yet, there has been a huge push to exterminate these bugs with extreme prejudice. Various social media campaigns, local initiatives, and even 5k races have been organized all around one focus…

Now, you might be wondering what’s the big problem with these insects? No one complains about butterflies, right? What’s with all the bug hate for an insect that’s attractive and keeps to itself?


Now, you might be wondering what’s the big problem with these insects? No one complains about butterflies, right? What’s with all the bug hate for an insect that’s attractive and keeps to itself?

What you need to understand is that SLF’s possess a healthy appetite for greenery and feed on sap from over 70 species of tree. They are very invasive, and their feeding habits contribute to the decreased health (even death) of our tree population.

Now, in China this isn’t a problem because of a species of tiny wasps that lay eggs inside baby SLF’s killing them and keeping the population under control.


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But here it’s a different story.

This is the danger of a non-indigenous species. There are no boundaries or checks and balances to prevent things from getting out of hand.

And while you might look at that bug noticing its colorful wings and think to yourself, “What’s the harm in letting that one live?” The truth is that by doing so, you’re contributing to a greater problem that is going to cause a lot of damage to your surrounding environment. 

There’s a beauty to these bugs. They seem harmless enough. But when taken outside their natural context, a lot of bad stuff happens, and so they must be eradicated to restore order to the natural balance of things.

This is very much what it’s like for us when dealing with unwanted sexual behaviors.

We think, “Hey, this little habit of mine isn’t that great, but it provides some pleasure and so what’s the harm if I indulge it just a little?” But in doing so, we discount the very real and present danger of allowing that behavior to continue to thrive. 

Make no mistake, sex is a beautiful thing.

But, when taken outside its intended context through the use of porn, masturbation, escorts and hookups, it can become extremely damaging.

Sex was created for our enjoyment. It was given to us to help build intimacy with our spouse. But when we indulge these unwanted sexual behaviors as a way to just get simple pleasure, we take what is meant to be beautiful and introduce a non-indigenous threat to our relationships and heart.

My encouragement to you is to look for the lanternflies in your life.

What behaviors or little habits are you ignoring or allowing to continue? What have you been tempted to let live for just another day? What threat is being allowed to grow in the dark corners of your life?

Identify those things. Then get help.

Because if you don’t, those behaviors will wreak havoc on your life. More importantly, if you don’t get help with the pain that is leading you to seek those behaviors out, you’ll never be able to completely restore the natural balance of your heart.

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