Why? You might ask.
Well, if you saw her coming from a distance, there was nothing really to distinguish her from anyone else; she was an older woman, perhaps in her 70's. As she came closer, you would notice that she had a large bandage covering most of her nose and part of her cheek, and you might wonder what type of accident she had gotten in to make this necessary. However, if she were to come close and engage in conversation with you, you would notice right away that something was not at all right. The foul stench of rotting flesh filled the air around her and around the edges of the bandage on her face you would see the scabbed over and inflamed areas that it failed to cover. For myself, I have a very strong stomach and yet found it hard to carry on normal conversation with her without gagging. Many failed in their attempts.
Yet, she seemed not to notice.
Later on, we were told a little about her story:
Apparently, it had all started with a small mole on the side of her nose that was found to be cancerous.
Her doctor told her that it would need to be surgically removed, but with quick action all would be well and she would suffer no ill effects. Her family urged her to have the surgery done. But, as I said, she was an older woman, a bit set in her ways, and she associated the word, "cancer", with chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and overall ill health from the side effects of these treatments; and so, fearing that would become a burden to her family, she elected not to have the surgery.
Time passed and what began as a small mole became a much larger problem; as the cancer grew and spread, the skin around it started to break down, decaying first the skin, then the tissue beneath it until most of her nose was gone and the areas nearby were severely affected. The stench of rotting flesh was nearly unbearable to those around her, but she little noticed as her sense of smell was first desensitized, then destroyed by the cancer. Though she kept the area covered with bandages, it was impossible not to see what was happening.
Through her fear of the unknown, and her desire not to become 'a burden' to her loved ones, she had done the very thing that she didn't want to do.
I've wondered what happened to her. Did the cancer continue to eat away at her face until she could not longer function, or perhaps, did the infection from the decay go to her brain and kill her? I'll probably never know, but one thing is certain - death was inevitable.
As I thought about this, I realized something: this story sounded so familiar. Not in cancer and rotting flesh, but something just as deadly.
So often, it starts with a very 'small' sin... just a 'little white lie', maybe. (Make no mistake, God does not differentiate between 'small' sins and 'BIG' sins - to Him, it's ALL sin, and a little one will damn your soul just as fast as a big one. It's we humans that like to label our sins.) We know we've done wrong, but it was such a little thing - no one was hurt by it, most likely, no one even knows...so we let it go. It would be so simple to repent, make it right, and go on, but we let the devil plant fear in our minds: fear of what people would think if they knew...
And something small becomes something a little bigger...and a little bigger....and a little bigger...Until one day, we realize that our life has become a rotting cesspool of one sin after another. We don't notice our own stench because we're so used to it, but to everyone around us it is so apparent. Our one 'little sin' that affected no one but ourselves has spread, the effects broadening like a ripple on a pond.
That thing that would have been so easy to ask forgiveness for has become the proverbial 'elephant in the room' - always there, very obvious, but no one wants to talk about it.
No, this scenario doesn't necessarily end with rotting flesh and physical illness (though it could), but the end result is the same:
But in this case, the result is so much worse, because with the physical death also comes spiritual death; eternal darkness.
But the cure is so simple!
We so often neglect our problems, hoping they'll just go away, until the morph into something much bigger and more problematic, when the answer was just a simple fix all along.
The fix for sin is Jesus.
He experienced death so we wouldn't have to. (Spiritual death)
He paid the penalty for sin because we couldn't.
Doesn't it make more sense to accept the cure, than to suffer needlessly?
Like the lady in my story above, who could have saved herself YEARS of suffering by a simple surgery that probably only would have taken minutes to perform, by just simply taking the times to stop, ask for forgiveness for our sin, and accept the gift of life that is offered to us, we can save ourselves years of spiritual suffering...and yet so often we blunder on blindly - hurting from our self-inflicted wounds.
"...Every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death." James 1:14-15
"But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness...For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Romans 6:17-23 (KJV)
Accept the gift; receive the cure for your illness.
This week, as we reflect on the sacrifice Jesus made on our behalf, thank Him for making the cure for sin available to everyone that will ask!
(Note: I hope that everyone that read this post has already accepted the gift of Salvation. Unfortunately, I am fairly certain that they have not. It has never been my intent to use this blog solely to 'preach', but it IS where a write things that are on my heart and mind - and I've found that when God puts something on my mind, it won't leave until I write it. Over the past five years, I've had visitors from 32 countries, and it is my prayer that somehow God will be able to use something they see here to draw them to Him. I don't claim to be any great writer, nor a theologian, but I hope to be clay in the Hands of the Potter - moldable and usable for Him.
I promise, one of these days I'll get back to the family posts, crafts, recipes, etc. but in the mean time, I'll keep writing whatever pops into my head. :) Thank you to all my loyal followers - all 5 of you - for sticking with me!)