Sunday, November 21, 2010

Sin Cancer Part Deux

I had a follow-up to my follow-up visit with the dermatologist last week. A few months ago I had a spot removed that turned out to be a basal cell carcinoma, as I mentioned in my previous blog - Sin Cancer "the best type of skin cancer to have". I'm still not quite sure how to take that! Anyway, I had to go back and see him today to make sure everything looked ok after my initial follow-up. I was ushered back to the examination room and the nurse told me to take my shirt off. I did as she asked and within a few minutes the doctor walked in. He greeted me and made his way to a work table where he had an assortment of tools, cotton swabs, and canisters of all shapes and sizes. He walked back to the examination table where I was laying and began looking me over. He walked around with the canister of liquid nitrogen hissing in his hand looking like he was ready to pounce on anything that looked abnormal. He looked me over from top to bottom but said he did not see anything unusual. He returned the hissing canister to the work table and proceeded to tell me about making sure I wore a shirt when I went outside as well as sunscreen. He also told me to make sure I wore a hat when I went outside because "your hair is getting thin on top of your head". Gee, thanks doc!

As I was riding back to work from the doctor I began thinking about my visit. This was a follow-up visit to a follow-up visit for a problem that was discovered a few months ago. I began to think about how we handle sin in our lives. I wonder what would happen if we treated a sin issue that we are dealing with the same way I treated my skin issue. What if we had someone thoroughly check us out, look us up and down spiritually speaking and follow-up with a follow-up visit. Ask us the tough questions and be brutally honest just like my doctor was. He did not care that I might get offended with his statement that my hair was thinning. He was more concerned with my well being. He was not real concerned that if he had to attack an abnormal growth with the liquid nitrogen it would be uncomfortable for a day or two. How often do we dance around the issues with each other, too scared that we might offend him or her if we say something. We would rather sit and listed to a friend talk about leaving his wife and nod in agreement, even tell him he deserves better than her, instead of call him out on it. As church leaders we would rather turn a blind eye towards a brother or sister who is blatantly living in sin rather than call them out on it and ask them to leave the church if necessary. 

James gives us instruction on dealing with sin:
James 5: 16 - Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
He does not put any conditions in this verse like - as long as the sins are not too bizarre or - unless it has been going on for a long time and no one has confronted you on it or - unless the world has said it is ok or legal. Notice also that he says to pray for each other, not send a letter out to everyone (or an e-mail) telling them about what is going on. I do not think James wanted Believers to confess the way people do on the Maury Povich Show or on some crazy talk show. I think this was something that was between just a few people. 

Just like my doctor had several tools to work with we have been given spiritual tools to work with. First we have been given the Holy Spirit. It is the job of the Holy Spirit to convict someone of sin, not ours. We can confront but not convict:
John 16: 7, 8 -  7 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment:
We have also been given the Word of God.
Hebrews 4: 12, 13 -  12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.
Sin issues, just like skin issues are not to be dealt with lightly. Had I ignored my doctor's advice and treatment, my skin cancer could have grown and eventually killed me. The same can be said about sin issues. If we simply ignore them they can grow and lead to both physical and spiritual death. Don't put off dealing with your sin issue any longer. Go to the Great Physician for forgiveness and healing that only he can provide.

1 comment:

  1. This is amazing! And true. Thanks for the reminder about a "sin check up". You are a gifted writer.