Riding my bike in the country one sunny afternoon, I came upon a colorful little snake coiled in a patch of sunshine in the road. Of course I had to stop.
Now, I was raised near a swamp; never held much fear of snakes and have, in fact, been known to tuck one away in a pocket or two.
But this little guy wasn’t a pocket dweller. He was a poisonous coral. They don’t strike like rattlers and aren’t really aggressive. Coral snakes only bite in self-defense, and then they have to sorta chew on you to do any damage.
From a safe distance, I admired the crystalline pattern of the vivid red, black and yellow stripes, a masterpiece of design. I have no idea why the Master Creator felt we needed poisonous snakes (or mosquitoes or head lice!) but He did, and this one was a beauty.
A dented silver pickup approached, driven by a young dude in a backwards baseball cap. He slowed down to see what was so interesting to the gal on the bike and then swerved way over to intentionally run over the little snake with his oversized tires, squashing reptile innards everywhere.
I was incensed.
That snake wasn’t bothering anyone, just enjoying sunbathing on a warm road. My eyes welled up at the unjustness of despising this magnificent creation whose only offense was being what God made him.
I suddenly felt the sting of prejudice. The unfairness. The disrespect of judging something—or someone—simply by appearance. Or species. Or ancestry. Or paradigm.
Many of the citizens of our nation are experiencing the sting of prejudice right now in regard to political passions. Our division is blatant, our intolerance rabid. We’re quick to judge someone as a ‘jerk,’ ‘ignorant’ or ‘one of those’ if their perspective differs from ours.
But as my granny used to say when I bad-mouthed others, “Who made you judge?”
Answer: no one. The one and only Judge is still on His throne. And thankfully, He chooses to love us snakes, not run over us. Even when we’re poisonous.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged,” (Matthew 7:1, NIV).
Prayer: God Who Knows each of our hearts, I leave the judging to You. I refuse to squash anyone.