So I am doing my morning walk listening to my music. Life is good. There is a dark spot on my street because the street lights can't get through the trees. It is early in the morning and the sunlight is about an hour away. And I step on it.
Geez! I hate snakes!!! What is a snake doing on the road? The road is not a snaky place in my world--at least not until now. As I do my patented "Jack O'Dell snake dance" I catch the glimpse of the varmint out of the corner of my eye. The snake is as panicked as I am. Fortunately we panicked in different directions.
Now I can hear some of you lecturing me about good snakes. Do not even go there. In my little pea brain, there is no such thing as good snakes or good cockroaches. If I would have been Adam, I would have refused to even name them.
Speaking of Adam, I worried and wondered about snakes all day long. So when did snakes stop talking? One of those questions the Bible does not answer.
In the biblical witness, the snake talked to Eve. They conversed--much to the detriment of the world.
And if snakes talked today what would they say?
As my other brother, Larry said, "Did the snake write on the snake facebook, 'I was just lying in the middle of the road minding my own business when this 185 lb beast stepped on me! I hate those beasts with their big feet! Luckily I got away before he crushed me!'"
So when and where did snakes lose the ability to talk and be heard? Or do snakes just speak where you cannot hear?
Evil is like that I think. It crouches in the corners and does all the damage it can--gossip, talk that tears others down, criticism that is not founded in truth, or even stones of truth that are chunked with no regard for damage. Evil invites us to the dark corners of life where words are used to the detriment of human relationships. The venom of their strikes is deadly.
Eve empowered the words of the snake when she held on to them. She allowed them to direct what she did. She could have ignored the snake. She could have told the snake to go take up his concerns with God. But no, she listened to the talking snake. She gave life to the venom of the snake.
Maybe the lesson we learn is to walk cautiously in our world because the snakes are going to show up in the strangest places. The lesson we also learn is to not empower the venom of the snakes. Too many good people have been hurt by harmful words that are given life.
Your momma taught you this. If you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything! Or maybe she taught you this one too. If you would not say it in front of the person, do not say it behind their back.
Pray for me as I pray for you.
In the Master's Name,
Dr. M. Jack O'Dell