• Gathered Under Grace

The Good and the Bad

To say that I am not a fan of snakes is an understatement. A while back a black snake found its way onto our screened in patio. The boys were yelling 'snake', I was yelling for my husband to come take care of the intruder, and it was all a bit chaotic. Yikes, at the thoughts that run through our heads. The snake wasn't moving. Had it arrived on our patio just to pass the time warming itself in the sun or was it already dead? Oh it moved, and the yelling commenced once again. Me yelling like a girl, hollering at the boys get inside, until my hero husband bursts onto the scene. My husband quickly and efficiently demonstrated his snake wrangling technique to the younger generation. It was a good snake, so he captured it, offered it for petting purposes and then he released it to roam about once more (far, far away from the patio, thank you very much). I am aware that there are good snakes and bad snakes, but I don't like either of them very much or even sticks that look like snakes. Yes, he offered to take care of the situation on a more permanent basis, but we need our good snakes, at least that's what I tell myself. Repeatedly and wherever I encounter one of them. It's a ritual for me. Those sticks that look like snakes? Those sticks die, chopped into little tiny pieces. Bad snakes follow the path of the stick snakes. Chop, chop, chop. However, good snakes are released back into the world to continue to do their own thing. Proverbs 27:17 NLT "As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend."  Just like this snake situation, we can sometimes find snakes in the most unexpected places. In those things that are stealthy and silent; those things that sneak up on us and that take us by surprise. Suddenly, we realize that we have to make a decision. We have to determine if they are good for us or if they need to be chopped from our lives. We have to take a good, hard look and determine if this a good thing or a bad thing, and sometimes we need a friend to come in an help us wrangle our situation. Yes, there is goodness out there in the world. Wise people, relationships with sustainability, things that positively impact our behaviors and our lives. If we find ourselves surrounded by negativity, dragging around some leftover baggage from the past, or being influenced in the wrong direction, we have to change our direction. We may even have to chop away at the deadwood, by removing ourselves from the things that are a bad influence on our lives. Find and foster relationships with people who build us up and give us wise counsel. Good friends can help us determine if our ‘snake’ situation a good thing or a bad thing. When we act accordingly, good friends and good influences help us thrive when we are 'released back into the world'. Good friends help one another stay sharp, and by helping one another we all become a better influence on the world we live in. 



Deltona, FL, USA


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