By Pastor Bruce K. Oyen
The theme for these thoughts came to mind while reading an article in Centralia, Washington’s newspaper, The Chronicle, on Friday, July 15, 2011. The article is found on page Main 6, and is titled, “Eight-Foot Anaconda Seized From Home.” A picture of the anaconda accompanies the article.
Here is part of the article: “Animal control officers seized an 8-foot anaconda from a Longview man this week after it and two other snakes escaped from a garage. Mike Nicholson, an animal control supervisor, said he confiscated the anaconda, which will grow to hundreds of pounds, because it’s too dangerous to be kept in the community as a pet. ‘Can you imagine in another two or three years when this snake is 20 feet long and it’s wrapped its body around a baby or a dog?’ he asked. ‘I can’t have that.’ ” The article says two other snakes had been captured by their owner before authorities arrived. The article said the two other snakes were “a 10-foot Colombian red tail boa constrictor and a 6-foot Burmese python,”
If you follow the news, you know that snakes are not the only dangerous pets some persons own. Some pit bull dogs viciously attack adults, children, other animals, and even their owners. Some persons keep potentially dangerous spiders as pets. And others have other dangerous animals as pets.
One thing I have learned about pets that have attacked their owners is that their owners didn’t expect them to become dangerous. They knew they had the potential to do so, but felt safe having them as pets.
That is the way it is with some activities we might involve ourselves in. Think of the millions of persons who started to smoke, dip, or chew tobacco, and have not only become addicted to it and spent a lot of money on it, but also have ruined their health with it. What at first was a pet became an enemy.
Think of the millions of persons who started out doing a little “harmless” gambling, only to find themselves totally consumed by gambling. They went from spending maybe only a few dollars a month gambling to spending every dollar they have on this vice. What started out as a pet became an enemy.
Think of the millions of persons who started out as very moderate social drinkers, only to become addicted to alcoholic beverages. Now, the alcohol controls them, and it has harmed their bodies, minds, marriages, families, friendships, and jobs. What was at first a pet became an enemy.
The Bible warns of the deceptive and destructive nature of bad habits and bad companions that promote bad habits. Consider some of its warnings. Proverbs 5:22 and 23 says: “The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin. He dies for lack of discipline, and because of his great folly he is led astray.” Proverbs 20;1 says: “Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.” Proverbs 23:31says: “Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder.” Galatians 6:7 and 8 says: “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh, will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” 1 Corinthians 15:33 says: “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals.’ ” ( All Biblical quotes are from the English Standard Version)
In conclusion, we need to remember that what start out as seemingly harmless pets can easily turn out to be an enemy.