Temptation Leaves a Mark

With a forlorn look, “Bubba the Chocolate Lab” could barely lift his swollen head early Monday morning. Awakened by his labored breathing, I arose from bed to check on my old friend. Expecting him to bounce right back, as he’s done many times before, I knew that morning this recovery was going to take longer. Kneeling beside him as I used a warm cloth to wipe the poison and infection escaping from his eyes and nose, I prayed.

As his hips have deteriorated, I’ve moved my farm dog and great companion indoors, where he can rest more comfortably. He still rides with me on the UTV now and then when I feed or do other chores, but these days I must lift him onto the seat. I’m grateful that once he’s seated, he stays there and doesn’t get out to inspect my work any longer. Sleeping eighteen or more hours each day, I recognize that the inevitable day is coming when I’ll have to say goodbye. My prayer this day was that it wouldn’t be this soon. “I’m not ready, Lord, but Your will be done” was my prayer.

As you may remember, Bubba has always been my great snake hunter—having a hatred of venomous snakes. I’ve never quite figured out how he knew which ones to leave alone and which ones to attack. I’ve watched him walk away from a harmless water snake, which is often mistaken for a dangerous water moccasin (aka cottonmouth). In years past, he would kill and bring me eight-to-ten venomous snakes each year, laying them at my feet and waiting for a pat on the head and treat.

This past Saturday, Bubba and his little pal Archie walked me down our long drive. Less walk and more a labored amble for Bubba, he will want to stretch his legs now and again. On that morning, when we neared the end of the drive and turned to return to the house, Bubba lingered. There was some smell or something that held his interest. Happening now and again, I continued the trip back with little Archie, knowing that Bubba would be along soon. A few minutes after I’d put Archie back in the house, I noticed Bubba wasn’t laying by the front door.

Walking back outside and calling to him, he made his way around the corner of the house and I waiting for him to hobble into the house. It wasn’t until later that afternoon that he got up from his dog bed in my den and walked to my desk for some loving. As I was about to scratch his ears, I noticed the wet spot just above his left ear. “You found a snake this morning, didn’t you, boy”? Wagging his tail, he seemed to acknowledge my question and then look quizzically at me as though to ask, Aren’t you going to get me a treat now?

Upon closer inspection of his wound, I saw the two distinct marks where the snake’s fangs had sunk into his head. When there’s two punctures or long straight lines within a wound, it was a venomous snake bite. Only venomous snakes have fangs, which are like hypodermic needles through which they inject their poison into their prey. With the telltale signs present, I began treatment by applying P2B (penicillin, prayer, and Benadryl®).

Over the years, Bubba’s received many snakebites, and apart from the first time, he’s always recovered easily. Of course, he’s almost always brought me the evidence of his battle victories. Through the years, I think he’s developed a certain level of immunity to snakebites. I looked around the house and garage but found no trophies from this fight. Perhaps the snake was the victor this time. Having slowed down, I resolved that from now on, I would not let him wander off. Especially near the pond or the ditch across the front of our property.

Temptations, when we give into them, can leave a mark on our souls. #Temptation #Resisting #LeavesAMark Share on X

After treating my pal, the thought crossed my mind that “temptation can leave a mark.” Thinking about this more, I clarified that “giving into temptation can leave a mark.” Like my four-legged friend, we all face temptations. And like Bubba, temptations are never good for us. The thing about temptations is, the longer we stare at them, the stronger they become. Had my Bubba identified the snake and turned away, he would have likely not been bitten.

Many temptations remind me of snakes, so is it any wonder that the Bible refers to Satan as “that serpent of old” (Revelation 12:9)? Most venomous snakes will attempt to avoid a confrontation. Rattlesnakes, for example, will make a distinct sound that says, “Back off!” when you get too close. Copperheads emit a strong cucumber-like odor to let you know they’re near. Cottonmouths, on the other hand, will chase you. I think that’s why I always state, “Take that Satan” when I kill one.

It’s when we don’t resist temptations that Satan ensnares us in sin through his trap, and sin leaves a mark on our souls. Sin leaves us wounded and hurting, but Jesus can clean us up, erase our wounds, and restore our relationship with Him, but we must seek treatment. Untreated sin festers and grows more damaging the longer it remains.

Cleaning the wound on Bubba’s head helps remove venom and the resulting infection and minimizes its damage. In the same way, applying the healing balm of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness minimizes the damage sin can do in our lives. We can do that by applying the words of 1 John 1:9.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins
and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

(1 John 1:9 NKJV)

Understanding that we all sin is important to remember. Even more important in the lives of Christians is that we treat it as soon as the Holy Spirit reveals our sin to us. In doing so, we can minimize its damage to our lives. We might have scars to remind us of past sins, but scars don’t hurt. Unconfessed sin, resulting from falling into temptation, leaves a mark. Failing to apply treatment only makes things worse. Don’t let those marks become permanent, friends.

God’s blessings,

30 thoughts on “Temptation Leaves a Mark”

  1. As we age, most of us have difficulty accepting our increasing limitations. Poor ol’ Bubba thought he could meet the challenge like he used to. The Lord was merciful to you both in this one. Praying for renewed strength and courage for both of you.

  2. When I face my sins, I thank God for His grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

    It’s so hard when a beloved furry friend gets old. I pray Bubba recovers from this bite and lives out his days in peace and comfort.

    As an aside, the game warden out here says the rattlers in our area don’t rattle much anymore, and they’re taking to the trees. The overabundance of wild pigs have changed the rattlers’ habits. Come to think of it, of all the rattlers I’ve seen in this area (Eastland Co), none of them have rattled. Only one my husband saw rattled. Haha, I’ve been avoiding going under trees!

  3. Another tough, but inspiring post, Brother. It was sad for me in the beginning, not only for what Bubba was going through, but because I thought it was going to be a lead-in for saying good-bye to him and after losing Mavric our hearts were breaking for you as well as your long-time canine pal and co-worker. But as it turned out, you did exactly what God wanted you to do with the situation. You found a lesson that all of us needed to hear about a tendency we have that so often leaves us wounded, out of commission, and needing healing. Temptation is always slithering around in the weeds along the path we’re walking and waiting until we get in a place where we’re most vulnerable. Your description of what happened to Bubba brought back memories of times I failed to acknowledge the danger that I was subjecting myself to and didn’t consider what it could cost me or the impact it would have on those who loved me. Those reminders are always relevant and protective and while I hurt for you and Bubba, I’m grateful that you once again made your tough time helpful and encouraging to those of that are blessed to have been graciously adopted into the Cross-Dubya family. Mrs. Diane and I are grateful, too, that you’ve given us one more way we can intercede for you and those you love. And not only that, but your reminder to be more wary of the snakes we’re going to encounter and your warning that they’re not to be toyed with will help protect us from adding more of temptation’s scars to our lives and enduring more unnecessary pain. God bless you for your faithful determination to find instruction and encouragement in everything He brings your way, even the trials and painful losses. Sometimes those become the strongest threads that knit our hearts together.

  4. Marjorie Hill

    So sorry you’re going through this with your beloved friend. To be loved so is special. A gift not lightly taken. Be blessed, my friend.

  5. Such a powerful analogy, J.D. Poor Bubba, I hope he’s recovering well. Like they say, getting old isn’t for the faint of heart and that’s true for our beloved family pets as you know.

    Love how you said, “The thing about temptations is, the longer we stare at them, the stronger they become.” Lord, help us turn our gaze upon You when temptation is near and knocking at the door. And when we do fail, pick us up and heal our wounds with your mercy and grace and forgiveness. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

  6. I’m so sorry about Bubba’s decline and snake bite. I hope he recovers well and can stay with you for a while longer.

    You’re so right about temptation–giving in to it can leave scars. I’m so thankful for God’s grace and forgiveness.

  7. Yvonne Morgan

    Poor Bubba. I will be praying for his healing

    I loved your analogy for the snake, sin and the mark it leaves in our soul. It is so accurate to how Satan is like the evil, venomous snakes of this world. Thanks JD.

  8. Kathy Collard Miller

    I’m praying for the Lord to heal Bubba. Two huge losses would just be too much! But I know the Lord will strengthen you for whatever He desires.
    Truly an impressive study of temptation. How true, how true. Thank you.

  9. Praying for Bubba and for you, too. Bubba is a blessed gift from God. I love reading about the bond between you and your animals. That is a God-given gift, too. Take care, dear friend.

  10. Poor Bubba! I hope God grants you more days with your furry friend. Also, thanks for the great message with a word picture I won’t forget. Blessings to you, J.D.

  11. The point that Bubba knows venomous from non venomous caught my attention.
    You and Bubba are great for each other.

  12. I’m so sorry about Bubba’s bite and his declining health overall. Our animal friends are one of God’s wonderful gifts to us and we love them like family. It’s painful for us when thye’re hurt and goodbyes are heartbreaking. Your analogy to sin leaving its mark and how temptation draws us in are right on traget. We learn so much from the lessons of nature, if we take time to watch, listen, and reflect. My thoughts and prayer are with you and all your Cross-Dubya family.

  13. I’m glad Bubba is healing and that he has a loving friend like you. Love this phrase: “applying the healing balm of God’s grace, mercy, and forgiveness.” Applying the healing balm of God helps us recover from many wounds we suffer in life. Praying for continued healing!

  14. Debbie Wilson

    It’s so hard to see our long-time friends age and wane. I hope he heals soon. Graphic analogy that we can all identify with.

  15. How devastating! I’m praying that Bubba recovers from that snake bite. I’m so sorry that happened to your sweet friend.

    And I agree with your Biblical application about sin. I pray daily by asking God to cleanse me of any sin in His sight. Praying for the blood covering each day protects us from Satan’s evil plans and gives us power through Christ (There’s Power in the Blood). We possess the power to fight and overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.

  16. I’ve been praying for that too-curious-for-his-own-good ranch dog of yours. I vividly remember when our red and white Irish setter got bit on the nose while on a walk in the park close to our home, I made no hesitation to order the treatment instead of waiting to see how he responded. No way was I going to have the regret of not giving him the $1000 anti-serum. You calmed my anxiety by telling me how Bubba had survived numerous bites.
    The temptation to explore is innate, but it is the action that gets us in trouble. Once a threat is perceived, and the conscience gives its assessment, that is the time to run, run, run.
    I’m so glad Bubba is better. Life with an elderly dog has its challenges. Shockingly, we still have O’Malley, who turns 14 this month. He went with us to Georgia last week for Memorial Day weekend and was a trooper. He still gets a walk every day albeit slow and steady.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top