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Live-In Danger

March 13, 2016

It’s been 7 months since he breathed his last but to me it seems just like yesterday. I miss him a lot and especially this last week, I really wished he was still alive. I know most people wouldn’t understand my relationship with my dog but it was pretty special. Pancho wherever you are, just know I really miss you.

So it was for this reason (missing him) that I decided to go to the net to browse about pet owners who lost their pets. Before I could even start reading any of the links that came up, I saw a story that caught my attention. Actually it’s the picture attached to the story that caught my attention. You see, there was this lady who was comfortably sleeping while this huge python was curled around her body! Who in their right minds does that? So I decided to find out what that story was about …. I got even more shocked. Here below find the story, unedited…

“There once was a woman who had a pet snake that she loved very much. The snake was about 7 feet long and one day it just stopped eating. After several weeks of trying everything she could to get the snake to eat, the woman took it to the vet.

The woman explained the situation to the vet and after listening to her patiently he asked her, “Has your snake been sleeping with you at night or snuggling really close and stretching himself out?”

The woman replied, “Yes he’s been doing it every day and it makes me so sad that I can’t help him feel better.”

The vet looked at the lady and told her “Ma’am I don’t know an easy way to tell you this but your snake is not sick. You see, he is preparing to eat you! The reason he has been snuggling around you when you are sleeping is because he has been sizing you up every day. He needs to know how big he has to be in order to accommodate you and that is the reason why he has not been eating so he has enough room to digest you.”

I am not sure how I would have reacted if it was me being told that! Anyway why am I even thinking about that? This would not never happen because the last thing I’d ever keep as a pet is a snake. Goodness! I’d have to be crazy to do that because just the sight of them makes my skin crawl. I literally start itching at the thought of snakes!

Regarding this story though, I don’t even care whether it is true or fictional, but all I know is that I derived huge lessons from reading it and somehow it managed to get my mind off my departed pet. So let’s look at this story again…

The first thing we learn is that she loved her pet snake very much. This can be seen by the fact that she was worried when it wouldn’t eat to the point that when it snuggled around her she thought it was doing this because it needed her help. Eventually, she took the snake to the vet.

The second thing we see is that she trusted the snake completely, otherwise she would not have allowed it to snuggle against her in the first place. I would want to believe that she was not ignorant of the fact that her preferred pet was known to be dangerous. After all, we read from the greatest book ever written that battle lines between snake and woman were drawn when the snake lied to the woman and convinced her to sin against God. So they were sworn enemies, but this woman chose to overlook that part and trusted her pet completely.

So here comes the lessons I learned from this story:

Sometimes we open ourselves to people who are nothing but snakes. We let them into our space thinking that they are as genuine to us as we are to them, not knowing that they are snakes waiting to eat us. We have to realize that there are lots of people with snake-like tendencies and just because they laugh with us, and pat us on the back when we do well or seem to sympathize and empathize with us when we are going through a rough time does not mean that their intentions are good. They are possibly sizing you up so they can know how best to “eat” you. They do this by looking for a loophole they can use to sink you, or a weakness you have that they can use against you. Yes they are snakes in human bodies.

Unfortunately they are everywhere; in church, at the workplace, in our families, on social media, etc. We just have to have a discerning spirit to know who to trust and who not to trust. I remember a boss I once had who kept telling me that, “it is good to trust but it is best to doubt”. That time I didn’t quite understand what he meant by that but as time goes by I realize how true that statement is.

The truth is, there is no particular handbook that has been written about how to identify the snakes in your life. You just have to be discerning and perceptive enough to know who is a potential snake and who is actually about to eat you up. And that is where God comes into play. That is why we always have to ask God to guide our steps every day, to guide and rule our relationships, to help us identify the right people to hang around, to do business with, to confess or share issues with, etc. We need to ensure that we have the right people around us all the time and when we are not sure, then the best thing to do would be to put down the snakes in our lives before they swallow us whole!

Question to you this week is, how well do you know the people you allow around you? How sure are you that they are not just waiting for the right time to pounce on you and swallow you whole when you least expect it (because you didn’t even think they could do that)?

Human snakes are no different from backstabbers. They are called backstabbers because they do not do stuff right in your face, but they have to go behind your back to do them, just like snakes. A snake will always attack you when you least expect it, just like the stabbers. No wonder someone said, “It is better to have an enemy who honestly says they hate you than to have a friend who is putting you down secretly".

My word of advice to you this week is, “be careful of the snakes in your life”; I can't say this loud enough! They are not there to keep you warm at night. Their friendship is fake. Like Habeeb Akande said, “Fake friends are like shadows: always near you at your brightest moments, but nowhere to be seen at your darkest hour. True friends are like stars, you don't always see them but they are always there.… And to add, they shine the brightest when it is darkest.

PS: Article originally published in Tanzania's Guardian on Sunday on the 13th March, 2016, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".

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