Have you ever tried to pull a prank on someone and it goes terribly wrong? What do you do? Do you tell them your error, hide the fact it was you, or what?
In the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Huck plays cruel joke on Jim. Huck kills a rattler and puts it at the foot of Jim’s bedroll. He winds it up just like the snake was alive and warming himself. Jim goes to sleep none the wiser.
In the middle of the night, Jim starts screaming and flailing around. But it is not because the snake was discovered, but because the snake’s mate had arrived and coiled around the dead snake. And when Jim moved around, the very much alive snake was not happy and bit Jim on the heel.
Huck kills the other snake, but he never reveals he put the first one there previously.
There are a few important lessons here.
First … The obvious, don’t play with snakes. Dead or alive.
Second … When we play jokes on other people, very often it will go wrong. How would it make us feel if the joke was played on you? Think before you jest.
Third … Even when you think you’ve eradicated a problem, like a habit, a toxic relationship, health issue, whatever. Even when you’ve eradicated a problem, there is always a chance it will come back around. It may not really be dead, or it may have mates (Similar problems but not exactly the same.)
Fourth … Huck meant it as a joke, but he also put himself in danger. The live rattler could have very much attacked him as much as it attacked Jim. The joke could’ve backfired. The joke could’ve also caused permanent break in the relationship the two had. And that might’ve been worse than a snake bite.
Huck never tells Jim he put the snake there. He never fesses up. But it does look like Huck learned his lesson. Oh his antics aren’t over this early in the book, but he doesn’t handle snakes as a joke anymore.
Putting aside the jovial nature for a minute. We do things against other people, sometimes out of a sense of humor and sometimes out of anger and spite. The fourth lesson needs to be heeded.
In the cancel culture we are experiencing, do not honk you have control. The culture can shift and you might be cancelled next. In the past day, I have seen two scholarly and sound theologians cancelled on social media because of articles about solid orthodox Christian points of views.
The president of Focus on the Family and a noted NT scholar out of Houston University were not addressing attacks on personalities or any one specific. They were addressing candid issues and strove to open deeper conversation. Yet both were ‘blocked’ due to hate speech and/or incitement to violence.
I’m not sure where all this in our world is going to end … except the fact that in The End, when He comes back, it’ll all be set right. But I warn all who try to force their view on others, either form the right or the left, it might come back to bite you.
Beware of dead snakes. They have friends.