Snake Oil

Genesis 3:1 English Standard Version (ESV) Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made. He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?”

Is this where the nature of the snake oil salesman originated, in original sin. That however is not what gets credit for the term. Most searches will reveal this as the source of the term.

Snake oil salesmen – a term now used to refer to charlatans peddling their fraudulent wares – got the idea from Chinese laborers working on the First Transcontinental Railroad. They used the oils produced by the Chinese water snake, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, to soothe sore muscles or treat arthritis. (credit goes to many different sources)

We see manipulation in so many areas of our lives that we just take it for granted. We want something, anything, and we try to find a way to get what we want. When others do it we call it salesmanship. During this internet age it appears as spam or phishing. Every ad uses some degree of manipulation to either play on our emotions or our fears.

Some are so blatantly sinful as to play directly to the sin nature of those trapped in a constant loop of unsatisfying appetites that others easily avoid. Most of those only want money and could care less how their “customers” are afflicted.

It is in our original sin nature where selfish designs appear. Even if it is a good thing, we still “want it”.

Some of us have God given gifts. Then we recognize that we “want” to use it. We “want” others to recognize and appreciate it. We “want” a bigger audience and seek a bigger stage, a network, followers, and slowly but surely our sin nature goes from servant to salesman.

It doesn’t matter what “goods” we peddle if self does the “wanting”.

Lessons Learned

Colossians 3:16 English Standard Version (ESV) Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

Doing a search of the 3:16 verses will render a wealth of knowledge in God’s character. Here is one more.

Vine’s includes this comment about admonishing; “The difference between ‘admonish’ and ‘teach’ seems to be that, whereas the former has mainly in view the things that are wrong and call for warning, the latter has to do chiefly with the impartation of positive truth,”

As one who knows the truth, it became my duty to admonish others. I was arrogant. The results was alienation by way of wounds inflicted by me.

I learned that admonishment without wisdom was painful so I prayed for wisdom and received wisdom.

Now I applied wisdom to admonishing others and found myself to be the dissenting opinion in nearly every discussion. They would not yield to truth and it was frustrating. I could not make anyone see the truth.

What I discovered over the years is that while I had head knowledge, I had not taken it to heart. When I discovered how to allow the Word, Christ, to change my heart and overrule my mind, others began to listen in ways that were accepted and welcomed.

It does not matter what we know if we cannot show that Christ dwells richly in our hearts.

In my haste for knowledge I had assumed that the word resided in my head and I was wrong.

Speaking Christ in love is not about giving our opinion. It is listening in our hearts to discover what Christ has to say at any particular moment.

It is often found to be a quiet Word spoken after everyone else has had a chance to speak without being cut off or corrected.

That is where grace shines.