Sunday, August 19, 2012

It's Supposed To Hurt

I burned my finger recently.  Was putting in a baking sheet with supper on top, and the front of my finger hit the oven rack.  I heard it go "psssttt" before I felt my hand jerking back (luckily, without the baking sheet full of food).  It's a tiny burn - from my fingernail down to the knuckle, just under half an inch.  And it's just on one finger.

And you know what?  It hurts.  It's distracting.  It makes me feel generally uncomfortable, even though it's just a tiny injury.

That's how our conscience should be.  When we blurt out a bad word, it should sting like this.  It should distract us and bother us.  When we fudge the truth just a little, it should burn.

But our consciences are like my dad's hands.

He is a mechanic (a gifted one, at that), and does a lot of welding and other things that burn his hands.  He doesn't even feel them anymore.  He can have big, angry blisters and not have even noticed they were there until I ask what they are from.  Sometimes, even after he thinks about it, he can't remember. 

We get that way.  We get so used to our little transgressions that we fail to feel the sting. 

The problem with that isn't the absence of pain.  The problem is, when our conscience hurts, we turn to God.  We pray, we repent, we resolve to change for the better.  When that happens, the result is good.  But when we get so accustomed to the little pains, we don't bother turning to him - because we aren't even really aware that anything is wrong at all.

Psalm 139:23-24
God, examine me and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any bad thing in me.  Lead me on the road to everlasting life.

We have hope though.  No matter how seared our consciences are, God can still search us and show us what we need to see.  The question is, are you (and am I) brave enough to do that?

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