Never Smile…

Dan Howard   -  

When I was a child, one of my favorite children’s song was Never Smile At A Crocodile. I wasn’t a huge fan of Peter Pan, but this song would spend days in my head… I am sure this devotion will cost me days of madness. Anyway what made me think about this song. I was watching a really neat National Geographic special.

Most people would call a crocodile vicious and dangerous. They cause about 1000 deaths a year.

And yet….did you ever hear the story of Pocho ?

Pocho was found near death on the side of the river in Costa Rica. He should have died, but he was discovered by a man named Chito. Chito hated to see the animal in pain, and by some miracle managed to restore Pocho to health. Pocho was released into the wild…and then followed Chito back home. It started a fast friendship that spanned another two decades. They would spend time swimming together. He even taught Pocho how to give kisses!

Sounds unbelievable? It is very much a strange but true.

How many crocodiles do you know in your life?
People you look at and go “I can’t smile at them” “I need to give them a wide berth”
“They bite every time I get close”

We all know a crocodile…a bully at school…a coworker that we just can’t stand. Maybe it’s a family member that just knows how to push our buttons. A neighbor that won’t mind their own business. A critical teacher…it could be a big list. Or just a single large crocodile.

These are the people we struggle to forgive certainly had someone in mind when he asked in Matthew

How many times must I forgive my brother…

Jesus takes Peters suggested number and multiplies it greatly. He does the same to us every Sunday when we pray “and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

This week I want you to identify the crocodiles in your life and ask yourself a question.

Are they this way because they are hurting?
If they are hurting, can you make a difference?

The process will have to start with grace. You have to look at that creature and see not the scars and scales, but the hand of the creator. Then you will have to take a risk. You may get bitten. You may also make a friend for life. You may even save a soul.

Never smile at a crocodile, don’t limit yourself to just that.
Be brave, see the opportunities to reflect God’s love, and lead with grace.

 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot[a] love God whom he has not seen. 21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother. – 1 John 4:19-21

See you later alligator,

-Pastor Dan