Saturday, June 4, 2011

Komodo . . . the Aftermath is Worse than the Bite . . .As Guilt is to Sin

The Komodo Dragon was my favorite animal . . . now it must be my least. I just watched a group of them at the Jacksonville zoo a couple of weeks ago.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated with reptiles. I had a series of Iguanas as pets. Then I saw a real Komodo Dragon at the county fair. In those days, I'm sure it was kept in horrible conditions and paraded around like a freak. But the MC played up the "giant, man-eating lizard" to a frenzy.

It wasn't until the last few years I understood how brutal the dragon really was. I know in nature, you really can't judge an animal on its survival techniques. However, within the animal kingdom, I don't know of many who inflict such punishment on its potential food.

You probably know that the Komodo kills its prey through a long (lasting many days) process. I watched a documentary recently, on either public TV or The Discovery Channel, which showed this process in vivid detail. The forked tongue beast followed a group of water buffalo for a day or so, keeping about 20 feet away. When it spotted one buffalo in a vulnerable spot, stuck in the mud, it simply walked up to the much bigger animal--in a nonchalant way--and nipped its hoof. The bite barely broke the skin enough for a few drops of blood to run down and into the mud. The water buffalo jerked, but otherwise didn't notice too much.

Then, the roughly 60 different bacteria in the dragon's mouth, starts to do the work. Slowly the water buffalo gets sick, then sicker and sicker. For the subsequent week, it grows weaker and weaker as the septicema takes root. In the meantime, more and more dragons join the waiting party, just laying in the shade watching the lame and suffering animal going downhill. A few days later, the beast stumbles and one of the dragons takes another nip at its other ankle . . . the one the bull has been favoring because the other one, bitten by the first dragon, is so swollen that he can barely stand on it. Eventually, after about ten days, the young bull falls to the ground and the dragons surround it, each taking bite-fulls of flesh as the bull moans and cries. Eventually it dies.

A year and a half ago, I was sitting in Sunday school at my old evangelical church. I can't remember what we were talking about, but I made the comment that I think that guilt is a bigger problem than even sin itself. The entire class looked at me like I was from Mars. Quickly, they all voiced their harmonious opinion that it was the lack of guilt which was pandemic, not the presence of it. After all, just look around. Boys and girls sleeping together without any thought. Porn, alcoholism, and the list goes on and on.

But I really think, like the Komoto Dragon, sin is the simple bite . . . but the guilt is the deadly poison that destroys the person from the inside out. Furthermore the focal point of the Gospel is solving that guilt problem, not to rid us of sin. I want to take a couple of posts to explore this whole idea and try to make my point.

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