Tuesday, September 19, 2017
I ran over a snake today on the way to check the construction on the new house. It was a small snake, probably less than two feet long—green with white stripes. I could have avoided the snake but something kind of urged me to run over it to kill it. And so I did.
On the way back to the office I drove by the snake again and I saw that it was not quite dead—it was in fact writhing in pain. The tires on my Jeep had crushed the snake but not killed it—it was in agony. I had immediate remorse that I was the cause of that suffering and pain. The snake could never survive with the injury I caused, so all I could do to remedy the carelessness was run over it two more times to be sure it was no longer agonizing.
That drama bothered me all day long. Why in the world did I harm that snake in the first place. It poised no harm to me and probably keep the mice population checked! But worse, I realized that I was the source of the great suffering of one of God’s creatures—-that little snake felt pain and was truly hurting for no good reason.
If I, mean-spirited and careless as I am, have compassion on a small snake, how much more does God have compassion and pity on people like me—-reptilian though I might be at times. And if God has such compassion as I had today (and I know that He is infinitely more kind and compassionate than I can fathom), I know that He would never send agony and suffering on me for His entertainment or for no purpose. Unlike me, the suffering He causes or allows has a purpose for good!
But I also wondered how many souls I have caused to suffer by my indifference, carelessness, lack of thinking/planning, etc. To be sure, I have caused others harm in my life: I take no pride in this and can offer no excuse or explanation. Sometimes I have done the hurtful things simply by ignoring the obvious fact that I was causing injury to someone by not “letting up” or steering my actions a bit more circumspectly.
God’s Word speaks again and again about “being careful”—-i.e. thinking before acting or speaking. I need to be careful not only because of God’s little creatures that cross the road, but also because of the precious ones that cross my paths each day at work, the grocery store, at the stop sign, at the bank, on the phone, etc. Being careful is to be “full of care” in the manner in which I do everything.