The Snake that Burned the House Down

    Did you hear about the woman in Texas who lit her house on fire last month? While raking and cleaning out her yard, she encountered a snake. Her response is a bit perplexing, because hitting it over the head with the rake handle would have worked just fine. But instead, she grabbed a nearby gasoline can and doused the snake, then threw a match on it. The inflamed snake slithered into a brush pile next to the house, and before she knew it, the brush pile and the house were engulfed in flames. It was a total loss.
    Our reactions to problems are often worse than the problems themselves.
    Reading that story, we scratch our heads. Seems pretty foolish. But that woman only lost her house. We often overreact to problems and lose our families, livelihoods, kids. When you blow up in a fit of anger because you think you are being disrespected, you are setting a needless fire that is capable of destroying valuable relationships, sometimes shattering families. When you retaliate at work because you think you are being unfairly treated, you lose out on future promotions, make life at work miserable because of the atmosphere you create among your coworkers, or maybe even lose your job altogether, and thereby your livelihood.
    I talk to people all the time who light snakes on fire, burning their houses down, but still insist on it being the snake’s fault.
    Everybody faces problems. Everybody gets disrespected. Everybody is at some time mistreated. What happens in your life is more about your responses than your circumstances. Snakes are inevitable. Dousing them with gas and lighting them on fire is foolish.
    When we face those snakes, we have opportunities. If you use wisdom, control your emotional reactions, think through your choices, and act in a way that honors God and is loving to others, the very thing you think is causing all of your problems might become your greatest blessing. Because it’s not the “thing” that is usually actually causing the problems. It’s your reaction to those things that determines outcomes.
    How are you responding to life’s problems? Still blaming your husband? Your ex-wife? Your boss? Your depression? Your “stress”? Don’t let your reaction compound the issue. See the sovereignty of God in it, and let him lead you in a wise response that will honor him, love others, and in the end, turn the problem into something good.
   

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