Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What Sin Feels Like

I was in a meeting yesterday and heard two descriptions of people battling ailments and disease.

The first person, a friend of mine, had been stung by a wasp...3 times!!

One of the stings occurred near her eye. (An interesting note, my friend is a beekeeper. And though she has been stung by bees, she has never had the type of reaction to bee stings as she did with the wasp.)

She said at first she couldn't see what the foreign object was and she simply tried to brush it off her face. But as she clued into what was happening, she noticed the wasp.

"It was angry!" she told us. It stung her two more times before she was able to finally kill it.

And then she said this:

"I could feel the venom spreading through my face. My eye started to swell. My lips started to go numb. My throat began to close."

Thankfully my friend made the wise choice to go to a neighbor's house and ask for a ride to the emergency room of the Chelsea Hospital. (In another interesting, even Providential note, the neighbor, who wasn't planning on being home that day, changed her plans and was available to help my friend.)

The second story I heard was different but equally problematic. I heard a mother share about her daughter's acquiring Hepatitis C. This mother has now become a fanatical fundraiser to help find a cure for this currently, uncurable disease.

She shared that a person who acquires Hepatitis can take up to 20 years to show the symptoms.

Think about it. Something that happens when you are 6 (like a blood transfusion), may not show up till you have graduated from high school AND college, become married, and started a family!

Or, something that happened to you as as a young person in your early 20s might not reveal itself until 2 decades have past and you're in your 40s.

As different as these situations are, they BOTH have the same potential deadly results.

I was reading Romans 6 this morning. If 1 Corinthians 13 is "The Love Chapter", Romans 6 could be called "The Sin Chapter". "Sin" is mentioned seventeen times.

And in the middle of the chapter we read this:

The death (Christ) died, he died to sin once for all, but the life he lives, he lives for God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. (Romans 6:10-12, NIV)

Sometimes we feel the sin rising in us like my friend's venom. We can "feel it spreading". Sometimes that fast-acting symptom comes from lust.

Or anger.

Or bitterness.

Or gossip.

Or greed.

And the moment we begin to give into it, we feel something in our life get pulled out of joint.

At that moment, we have a choice.

1. Continue on and let the venom keep spreading.

2. Fall on our knees and ask God to help us stop the action or attitude or the words. Change directions. Get to God's ER room immediately. (See Joseph's response in Genesis 39:12 when confronted with temptation. He ran!)

Other times it takes a little while for the effects or symptoms of our sin to become obvious to us. But our choices are the same.

1. Ignore it, hope it will go away

2. Get to the Great Physician ASAP.

Is there a place in your life today that symptoms are making themselves known?

Don't ignore it.

May we have the courage and the passion and the sense to ask for Help to deal with it right away.

Grace & peace

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