Serpents in the Garden of Childhood
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With the bombings of innocents, kidnappings and rapes of neighborhood children, the “trafficking” of human beings as though they were no more than livestock reserved for sexual perversion, and the "harvesting" of stem cells by killing cloned human babies (as if they should have been cloned in the first place), not to mention gruesome and gory atrocities against wee babes at the hands of doctors of death, evil can scarcely be denied. How does evil gain such footholds in a “civilized society” anyway? How can it go on for so long undetected and, worse still, be tolerated until some sort of “tipping point” is reached and people finally cry out against it?
Well, it doesn’t happen overnight, to be sure. Humanity, having been created in the image of the divine, fallen and depraved as it is, has deep within it still a repulsion to the naked revelation of such evil… at least until such quirks of conscience within it are finally suffocated by passions and pride and the human soul is utterly desensitized to evil’s horrible visage.
For there to be such a bountiful bumper crop of blatant atrocity, evil must quietly put down its roots, first in individuals and then, by extension, in various arms of society. Evil is quite clever and has a strong survival instinct; it takes great pains to “educate” young ones who in time become the perpetrators of arenas in which evil is not only tolerated, but is, in its more subtle forms, applauded. Over time, the extent and complexity of such evil becomes less easy to identify and less easy to cure and invariably leads to overt eruptions of graphic, if not gruesome, demonstrations of what evil can do and the fear that it fosters.
About two weeks ago, a man that I know was push mowing a large area on which children frequently play. There is in that place a pile of dry wood put there for use for a bonfire. He turned a corner and unexpectedly stumbled upon a four foot long black snake as it hurriedly slithered its way from the wood pile toward a thicket of tall brush. The man weighed in his mind whether or not to let it be, but when he saw in his mind the children that would be playing there accidentally disturbing the snake and being bitten, he quickly caught up with the snake and removed it from the area.
The environmental advantages to having black snakes in the local ecosystem aside (and there are indeed many such advantages), we need to beware of the spiritual serpents ready to wind their not-so-benign coils around our children’s hearts and minds. Ever since the Garden of Eden, there have been sneaky snakes (as we like to call them in our house) lying in wait with their forked tongues with tantalizing talk for the ears of those whose hearts were unguarded and unprotected. Ever since the Garden of Eden, men and women have heeded such devilish speeches and given themselves over to things (and persons) that have enslaved them, exploited them, and destroyed them.
The fangs of evil are already deeply embedded in our society and the working of its venom is bubbling to the surface at last in almost overwhelming force. But take heart. There is much you can do in ridding the gardens of childhood of the serpents hidden within.
First, remember Who is the stronger. God’s Word says, “Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for He Who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4 ESV). Even serpents feel fear and the servants of the “great serpent”, Satan, most especially fear the power and authority of the name of Jesus.
Secondly, keep in mind that those who play with snakes sooner-or-later feel the fangs. It would be a foolish thing indeed to toy with a Diamondback and it is no less foolhardy to toy with destructive habits, mind-altering substances, sensual activities or messages, and dangerous relationships. There are good reasons why the Bible has moral instruction in addition to the revelation of God’s love and purpose for you and me. He cares enough to warn us of the dangers of listening to the serpents in our gardens and has seen over the ages our propensity for listening to devious and diabolical drivel that appeal to our over-inflated view of ourselves and ideas of independence from God.
Finally, knowing what you do about the dangers that worldly attitudes and behaviors present to your loved ones, do what you can to rid your garden of its serpents. It is true that you won’t be able necessarily to discover every single one, but if you remove the ones you can, prepare the young ones in your life for an inevitable encounter with the “serpents of the world”, and cover them with prayers that come from a faithful walk with God, you can rest in God’s loving strength to work out His protection and deliverance for them. Ever wonder why you are who you are in the lives of those you know – children or otherwise? It is because you have been sent by God to be His vessel in the lives of others. This means, in part, it is given to you to cooperate with God in the matter spiritual snake removal. Guard the hearts and minds of your young ones even when it means saying no to certain movies, kinds of music, spiritually dangerous activities, and unwholesome relationships. Love, when it is genuine, knows when to set boundaries.
“We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:12-13a ESV).
Copyright © Thom Mollohan
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Excellent well written article!