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There is an old eastern story about a snake that lived on a path on the way to a famous temple in India.

Many people would walk along the path to worship, and the snake would often bite people with his poisonous bite.

One time a swami was on his way to the temple and the snake jumped out to bite him, but before the snake could bite him the swami put the snake into a trance and ordered him to stop biting people.

“It is not right to bite people with your poisonous bite,” the swami told him. “From now on, you shall not bite anyone.”

A few months later the swami was passing that way again, and he notice the snake lying in the grass beside the path. The snake was all cut and bruised and was in an awful state.

“Whatever has happened to you, my friend?” the swami asked. “Since you have put your spell on me,” the snake explained, “I have been unable to defend myself. Give me back my bite.”

“You foolish snake,” the swami answered. “I told you not to bite anyone. But I never said that you couldn’t hiss!”

This story contains an interesting truth. It seems today that many verses in the Bible are taken out of context to advocate or reject things the Bible never intended. Furthermore, sometimes in trying to avoid extremes we go too far and also avoid things that are perfectly ok or even right to do. “You shall not judge” does not mean we accept sin. “Forgive” does not mean we put ourselves back in an abusive situation. Sometimes it’s not so easy to draw the line between good and bad in life. It’s sometimes even more difficult to draw the line between good and best. There are some things that are clearly right and some things that are clearly wrong, but there are also some things that lie between. I am not advocating situational ethics but clearly “Not everything is beneficial” in life. And in those gray areas, God had has given us His Spirit in our hearts so that we can know the truth in any situation, if we will only seek God’s will.

 


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