If you’re thinking about buying a home in Annapolis, Maryland, don’t buy the one at 631 Truxton Road. It’s a beautiful home on an acre of ground. You’d probably like it very much, except for one thing: It’s infested with snakes.
The current owners, Jeff and Jody Brooks, discovered this shortly after moving in. They found snake feces and a couple of dead snakes, which was bad enough. You can imagine how they felt when snakes as long as seven feet started emerging from the walls.
Naturally, Jeff and Jody Brooks grabbed their kids moved out. They also filed a 2 million dollar lawsuit against the realtor who sold them the house.
But here’s the part of the story that resonates with me. A snake expert was called in to assess the situation. He assured the Brookses that there was no danger because rat snakes don’t eat anything larger than squirrels.
Um, I think maybe he missed the point. I’m pretty sure the Brookses didn’t call this man because they were afraid of being eaten. But this is typical of people who love snakes. Their first comment is always, “It’s harmless,” or “It’s a good snake,” or “There’s nothing to be afraid of.” Sure, unless you’re terrified of snakes!
Sometimes I think we Christians are as clueless as snake lovers. We fail to appreciate the pain people are experiencing and start hitting them with feel-good platitudes like, “It’s okay. Jesus loves you. He’ll be there for you.”
I’ll bet people sometimes want to scream at us: “No, It’s not okay! My life is falling apart here! And Jesus may love me, but where was he when my boss decided to lay me off? Where was he when my husband decided to have an affair?”
Sometimes what people need is not a platitude, as true as that platitude may be. What they need is someone to sympathize with their pain and help them get the snakes out of their house. Until the snakes are dealt with, they really can’t think about anything else.