On Snake Handling

Some people believe that one way you can express your faith in God is by handling poisonous snakes. Some people worship God by handling snakes in church. We have a hard time with raising our hands and clapping on beat. Snakes would be way too distracting for our congregation. But some people can clap on beat, raise their hands, play the drums and handle snakes in worship. Snake handling people must be very coordinated, probably great dancers. Snake handling worship people believe if you get bit either you had sin in your life or that God is trying to send you a message. I think if you pick up a rattlesnake and get bit God is sending you a message. I think if you get bit by a snake at church God is sending you a message. God is telling you to put the snake down and never bring it back to church. From now on clapping on beat will be a sufficient expression of your faith.

I’m not sure if it was a divine oracle, but for a couple of days this week a snake was living in our church. And he was handled, not with faith, but with a gardening tool. When it was all over the snake was hole-y, or at least hole-ish. Not that I want to be graphic or gruesome, but there is only one way to handle a snake – to kill it, kill it again, and then destroy it to the point that you have faith that it will stay dead. If it won’t stay dead, just run.

There are evil things that even faith is not designed to handle. In my opinion snakes and spiders are very close to the top. Some things are so evil you just flee. It doesn’t mean you lack faith, it just means there is no favorable circumstance, no amount of resistance, no measure of morality that will help you handle the situation. Just flee. But for some reason people think they can play with evil and it will not strike, just because they have faith. And people play with evil things every day – religiously – habitually – caressed by the charm of an adder – intoxicated by the poison of an asp.

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness. 1 Timothy 6:11 (NKJV)


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