If someone gave you an alligator, what would you do with it?

  • Keep it in your house?
  • Dress it up in clothes?
  • Take it on motorcycle rides?

Yeah, me neither—but I’m not Mary Thorn.

gatorRambo is a six-foot long alligator Mary Thorn has treated like a child for the past 11 years. Rambo rides a motorcycle, wears clothes, and sleeps in his bedroom. Apparently the Florida Wildlife commission has no problem with Rambo on a motorcycle, but they draw the line at a bedroom. Alligators that size must have 2½ acres of land to romp, play fetch, or do whatever alligators do.

Mary insists that (1) she doesn’t have 2 ½ acres, and (2) poor Rambo is sensitive to light. (“Hello, Sunglass Hut? What’s in style this year for alligators?”)

Mary Thorn believes she can keep Rambo if she gets him certified as a therapy animal—which is exactly what she’s trying to do. I get the idea of dogs as therapy animals: they’re soft, huggable, and the right dog can be very calming. But walk in with an alligator—I don’t care if it’s sharply dressed in this year’s fashions—and people will NOT be lining up to cuddle and hug something with a mouth big enough to chew on a Buick.

Dress up an alligator, even teach it to eat with a fork, but deep down it’s still an alligator. And someday the alligator’s real nature is going to come out.

And you can dress me up, teach me to be kind and gentle, but eventually, my real nature is going to come out. My sin nature. I am not kind. I am not gentle. I want things my way. I can only pretend so long before the real me comes out.

Correction: the old me.

I cannot change. But thankfully, Christ changed me. He has come into my life and He has transformed me. Where anger, envy, and self-centeredness were once at home, I am now filled with His love, patience, and contentment. And it’s all because of Jesus.

It can’t be said of alligators, but it can be said of me—and it can be said of you:

“If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17)

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