The “S” Word: the one where we battle a headless zombie snake

This is the second post on the ‘S’ word – a SERIES ON SIN. To read the first post – “the one where I get caught speeding” – click here. As you read, please remember, this series seeks to point fingers at no one but its author. And just a note of warning: the pictures are kinda gross.

I only screamed once when my husband was de-snaking our yard a few weeks ago.

Okay, maybe twice. But the snake was very long and, might I add, a very unwelcome visitor. We were eating dinner on the patio after all, and no one likes a party crasher, especially when they’re wearing snakeskin.

Thankfully, that very morning my husband came home from the hardware store with a tree-trimmer…

…which I will henceforth refer to as the “snake-getter.” Amen.

Yes, this is a picture of me multi-tasking. I’m holding the valuable “snake-getter” while taking pictures.

But despite my impressive contribution, the hubsters was the real hero of the day. After cutting its head off, my husband unceremoniously declared, “I will bury its head now.”

“Bury, it?”

“Yep. It can still bite you.”


And trust me, that’s not even the grossest part.

Because after chopping off its head, the rest of the snake continued to thrash and writhe as if it were still alive.  And, (I think this is the point where I screamed) it seemed to be flopping straight toward us!

But even crazier than a headless zombie snake coming to exact his revenge was the sudden swarm of flies that showed up seeking their own alfresco meal.  Seriously, the snake was without its head for less than one minute before it was covered in flesh-eating flies.

“Where did those flies come from?” I asked, astonished.

I couldn’t help but marvel … even as I squirmed in my seat …. watching those little buggers swarm the snake’s body as it flopped back and forth.

And at that moment, I could think of no clearer picture of the effects of sin.

Scripture tells us sin brings death.  Paul doesn’t mince words when he tells us: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Rom. 6:23)

Contrary to the view of contemporary culture, sin is not a momentary lapse in judgment, a mistake, a lifetime of poor choices, or even really bad luck. Sin isn’t something you can subdue, overcome, or bounce back from.

Sin is, and results in, death.

I love how John Piper describes the ‘S’ word in a blog post titled, “Why We Need A Savior.” He writes:

“The reason we need a Savior is not just that we are in the doghouse with God and need to be forgiven for offending his glory. We need a Savior because we are in the morgue. In the doghouse you might whimper. You might say you are sorry. You might make some good resolutions. You might decide to cast yourself on the mercy of God. But what can you do if you are in the morgue?” (emphasis mine) [1] 

If Scripture is correct – and I actually AM a sinner – then not only am I headed toward the grave, but I’m already standing in it.

Zombie snakes aside, sin is a problem because the dead cannot revive themselves.

The only way to beat sin is to destroy it. How do you do that? Paul tells us in Rom. 8:10-17:

“But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives lifebecause of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because ofhis Spirit who lives in you. Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.  For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (emphasis mine)

So, this is the good news: beating the “S” word has nothing to do with me – the crazy zombie – but the Spirit who indwells me.

I mention this only because I probably live more like a snake charmer than a snake slayer. It is mere foolishness to think snake charmers will never be bitten. In the same way, there is no petting or pacifying sin. And even if I succeed in avoiding a nasty bite, apart from the Spirit’s reviving work, I can never avoid death’s nasty stench.

True, you won’t find zombie snakes in Scripture, but such a metaphor can still illuminate an important biblical principle. The only way to deal with death is to trust in an outside (and divine) Helper to completely slay our sin on our behalf.

Needless to say, I wasn’t content to leave our headless zombie snake in the grass. The stench of its death was attracting too many flies.

“Well, I guess we’ll have to burn it,” my husband declared, a little too happily, if you know what I mean.

So, he lit up the chimnea (awfully quick) and threw threw the body into the fire.  Having just discovered the various uses of snakes and snakeskin for outdoor survival techniques from the honorable Bear Grylls, my boys particularly enjoyed this part.

They thought Dad was working on the second course for dinner.  Actually, this might have been where I screamed the second time.


[1] Check out Piper’s full explanation about the relationship of sin and death at

About melissa deming

Melissa Deming is a freelance writer transplanted from Texas to Pennsylvania with her husband of ten years, Jonathan, and two-year-old identical twins, Zacharias and Jonah. The family serves at a Southern Baptist church plant in Pittsburgh - Living Faith Community Church. Melissa is a regular correspondent for The Southern Baptist TEXAN newspaper and Crossroads magazine of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. She is also the creator and author of - a site designed to sweeten a woman's walk with Christ through devotional articles, book reviews, and giveaways. Melissa holds a Masters of Divinity in Women’s Studies from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, NC, and a B.A. in Journalism from Texas A&M University.