Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth He any man. James 1:12-13
Over the years I have watched loving mothers make all kinds of excuses for their children.
It doesn't make much difference how bad, how nasty, how foolish, how weird their children get, a mother's love can always create an explanation and a defense. Well, almost always. The exception to the rule is Deborah Gomez who, in spite of her boy's pleadings, has shown "no mercy" and shared her 36-year-old son's foolhardiness on Facebook.
And what has Alex, Gomez's son and himself a father of three, done that is so very wrong?
He took some selfies. For those of you who don't know, a selfie is a photograph you take of yourself and (oftentimes) post on a web page for others to see. Well, Alex took some selfies holding a four-foot-long rattlesnake he found behind the family's ranch. Alex did all kinds of things with that rattlesnake, including draping it around his neck. Alex managed to click the camera right before the rattler decided he had had enough and bit him.
The snake might have bitten Alex on the neck. In that case it would have been "Goodbye, Alex."
Instead, the snake bit him on the hand, which gave the doctors and EMT folks an opportunity to save his life, which they have. The good news is Alex is going to live. The bad news is Alex's mother is never going to let him forget his foolishness.
Now there are all kinds of lessons to be learned in this story. The one I like is don't think you can play with dangerous things and not get caught. Don't play with wasps' nests; don't play with oncoming railroad trains; don't play with soldiers from ISIS, and don't think a four-foot-rattlesnake is a pet. I'm sure your personal experience can come up with items to add to the list.
Read through Scripture and you will find a lot of folks who thought they could beat temptation and didn't. Listen to the evening news and you will see the same.
Far better for God's people to flee Satan's temptation and stick close to the Triune God.
It makes sense. After all, it is the Lord who has loved us and had mercy upon us. It is the Lord who sent Jesus into the world to carry our sins and offer Himself as our Ransom. It is the Lord who has promised He will forgive and save all who put their faith in Jesus as their Redeemer.
It is the smart, the sensible, the safe thing to do.
And if that doesn't make sense, then listen to what my mother would have said to me: "Kenny, if everybody put a four-foot-rattlesnake around their necks, would you do the same?"
To which I always replied, "No, Ma, I wouldn't."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, do not let us be drawn to temptation like a moth to a flame. Rather, let us lean on You and trust Your Son for deliverance. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries