Sunday, March 04, 2012

The Skunk’s Descent

… even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief … 1 Tim 1:13

My friend Martin Mosley has a story to tell, and boy, does it smell!  When he was in high school, in the 1950s, he made himself a belt from a snake he had killed.  His fellow students could not wait for him to do the same for them.  Martin enjoyed trapping snakes along the river and turning their skins into belts for his friends.  It became a nice little business for a teenage boy.

One evening, however, while looking for snakes, Martin came across, of all things, a skunk.  Fearless and courageous, apparently throwing caution and good “scents” to the wind, he grabbed the critter by the tail.  Actually, young Martin thought the skunk was safe and harmless, as long as its feet were not touching the ground.  That was actually not correct.  The truth is that a skunk whose tail is raised is quite able to fire, whether he is on the ground or in the air!  However, Martin was still able to get the skunk home without being sprayed. 

Appropriately, he named his new pet “Stinker.”

In addition to the cage where he kept Stinker, Martin devised a harness and a leash so he could walk the skunk and take him on outings.  Just imagine how people must have reacted when they saw this unlikely pair coming their way!  How fast they must have run!

Then Martin activated a permanent solution.  He took Stinker to a vet, who held his tail down while injecting him with anesthesia.  The skunk’s efforts to raise his tail became weaker and weaker, until he succumbed to the medicine.  Then the doctor removed Stinker’s stinker.  Without his equipment, the little guy would never again be able to make others reek with his odor.  Stinker experienced what this article calls the skunk’s “de-scent.” 

Years ago a friend told me that some people can be like skunks.  Instead of addressing their own problems, confessing their sins, and drawing closer to the Lord, they look for someone to spray.  Through criticism and gossip, they fire away, potentially hurting precious, innocent people.  Then they go on their way, feeling relieved and even justified in what they have done, leaving a terrible odor in their wake.  Such behavior can become natural, habitual, and almost instinctive.  Everything is someone else’s fault.  There are plenty of targets at which to aim the blame and the accusations.  “Hit-and-run” is not just for skunks; it can be a great temptation for God’s two-legged creatures as well.

I want to be “de-scented!”  I want to be harmless, helpful, and honest about my faults.  I want to pray, asking the Lord to change me so that I will never spray again.

Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.  Ps 139:23-24

Cory Collins

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