Let me tell you story about a scorpion and a frog.
There was a scorpion standing by the side of a river and he wanted to get to the other side, but scorpions cannot swim. He saw a frog nearby and called to him saying, “Hey frog! Would you carry me on your back to the other side of the river?” The frog replied, “No way! You will sting me and I’ll die!” The scorpion promised he would not sting the frog and eventually persuaded the frog to carry him across the river.
About halfway across the river, the frog suddenly felt a stinging pain in his back. In agony he said to the scorpion, “Scorpion! Why did you sting me? Now we’ll both drown!” The scorpion cried, “I know, but I did it because I’m a scorpion.”
There is a powerful message we can all learn from in this story.
Why did the scorpion sting the frog causing them both to die? Because that’s what scorpions do and he did it because he was a scorpion!
In his mind, the scorpion had defined himself in a certain way. He was simply acting in accordance with what he believed himself to be. He believed that he should sting others because that’s what scorpions do, even though this belief led to his death. Had he exercised self-control, contrary to his self-belief, both the scorpion and the frog would have made it to the other side of the river alive.
How we define ourselves in our own minds is a very powerful thing, and who we are is not what we do.
I saw a man on a television program recently. This man had murdered his wife and went to prison. The mother of the dead woman showed the man mercy and compassion and eventually that man came to the Lord. He said the turning point in his life was a statement from the mother. She told him that he was not a murderer, but a man who had committed murder.
This distinction separates the action from the person. It significantly changed the way he thought about himself. While he thought of himself as a murderer, he acted as he thought a murderer would act. His life was full of violence, hate and evil. But when he separated the act from the person in his own mind, he could set aside the act, overcome the hate, and find forgiveness and love through repentance. He was no longer a “scorpion.”
How many of us define ourselves by what we do rather than who we are? How many of us act in a certain way because at some point in time we have been given a “label” or been “put in a box” by ourselves or someone else?
While we accept the label and live by it, we may suffer a lack of self-control. We think and therefore we act. And when we think and act, we do so in terms of how we define ourselves, sometimes without regard for whether the actions that follow are good or evil, right or wrong. We just do it “because we are scorpions.”
When we see the label or the box for what it is, we can find freedom and follow a new path.
God leaves us all with weaknesses and failings. You may suffer weaknesses of anger, addiction, lust, a lying tongue, jealousy, envy, pride or any of the multitude of issues that plague humanity. He doesn’t take away all of our failings and problems, but leaves some of them for our strengthening and to teach us self-control.
When we are tempted by some weakness, we need to rely on the strength of the Lord to find the way to overcome. If God just took away the problems, how would we grow? How would we learn?
When we understand that we are not defined by our weaknesses, we can find the strength to overcome as we learn self-control. The weaknesses are no longer who we are, but what we do when we are weak, and with self-control the day will come when we do NOT succumb to the weakness.
And God helps us to do this, as the Bible tells us.
“God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control” (2 Timothy chapter 1, verse 7), and,
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians chapter 5, verses 22 and 23)
Do not be a scorpion. Do not be defined by your weaknesses or some box or label that you have picked up in your life. Recognise that you are able to stand apart from these things and by the power of God, find and exercise the promised self-control through His spirit.
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” John is the author of a number of Christian eBooks, which can be downloaded for free on his website at http://freegiftfromgod.com/my-ebooks/. You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: http://freegiftfromgod.com/
John Lemmon’s previous articles may be viewed at