Monday, March 7, 2011

Learn to Love the Serpent

Now the serpent was the most cunning of all the animals that the LORD God had made. The serpent asked the woman, "Did God really tell you not to eat from any of the trees in the garden?"
Genesis 3:1
Do you like snakes? They get a pretty bad rap. They have a reputation of being dangerous and sneaky. Why do so many people fear them? Maybe it's the way they slide around on their bellies. No arms or legs, but they can move fast when they want to. Maybe it's the long, forked tongue, or the noises they make. Or maybe it's because many of them are in fact dangerous.

For us Christians, it goes deeper than that though. It goes right back to this passage in Genesis. Although the text talks of a 'serpent', most people picture a snake while reading this. The snake represents the devil, and is blamed for tricking and tempting Eve, and causing the downfall of Man through Original Sin. When God finds out what the snake has done, He curses it, and puts enmity between it and all of humanity.

What struck me as I read this verse though, was the fact that this creature is still one of God's creations. God created everything in this world, and everything He creates has a purpose. He made the serpent the most cunning of all the animals. For a reason. Maybe it was to test Man, to see how we would use the free will He gave us. Whatever the reason, the serpent was one of God's creatures. God loves all His creation, and so should we. We might despise the serpent for what it did, we might fear snakes because of their physiology, but we are still to love and respect all of God's creatures.

This reminds me of Judas, who we'll be hearing a lot about over the next few weeks. He too was one of God's creations. Like the serpent, he had free will, and allowed Satan to lead him. But God still loved him, and Jesus will die for his sins on Good Friday. Jesus dies to save everyone, from the worst criminal to the highest saint. If Jesus loves us so much, can we not at least try to immitate that love? Jesus dies for that guy who cut you up in his car. Jesus died for that woman at the gym who is always spreading gossip. Jesus dies for the boss who drives a new Ferrari while denying you a pay rise. Jesus dies for the mom who never returns babysitting favors.

God loved the serpent who led us into sin. Jesus loved the man who led Him to the death that freed us from that sin. Let us try to exercise some of that same love for the people that betray us.


  1. I find this lesson harder to apply on the larger issues of life... I'm thinking murder, etc. In the microcosm I am able to adjust, it's hard, but not as difficult as understanding how I am supposed to love, even accept the more heinous ones...

  2. I agree, to love to the degree that Jesus loves is almost impossible. That's why we should start with the smaller things. And loving someone doesn't mean accepting what they've done. I wrote in another post a couple of weeks ago that if we can pray for our enemies, even the people who commit such awful crimes, then we are showing them love. When you find that tough, remember that God loves these people regardless. Try and think about why He loves them despite their actions, then ask for a heart that can imitate that love. It is not an easy path you've chosen to follow, and these are things that most of us struggle with daily.