Thursday, February 9, 2017

Toothaches and Sin

This is the daily devotion that I wrote and was published as part of our church's daily devotion ministry. Don't ask me how I know so much about toothaches and sin. :-)


A gift from Kris Baker, Order of St. Francis and St. Clare at #cohdallas, a United Church of Christ congregation, today's devotional is based on the following scripture :

Lust gets pregnant, and has a baby: sin! Sin grows up to adulthood, and becomes a real killer. James 1:15 The Message (MSG)

A Word of Hope 
Today is National Toothache Day, a seemingly odd thing to celebrate. Have you ever had a toothache? If you haven't, count your blessings! If you have, this scenario may sound familiar. Occasionally when hot or cold food or beverage touches your tooth, you feel a slight tinge of discomfort. You ignore it for awhile. When the discomfort becomes a little more persistent, you make a conscious effort to eat or drink on the other side of your mouth so as not to aggravate the untoward tooth. Eventually, the pain becomes incessant. You try to end-run it with some OTC pain-killers, all the while never stopping to think about what is really causing so much pain in your mouth. Then the inevitable wake up in the middle of the night (I don't know why it is ALWAYS the middle of the night!) in unbearable pain. Nothing will even dull it, let alone stop it. You count the hours, second by second, until you can call the dentist and plead with him or her to make the pain go away right now!! By this point, you don't care by what means this happens...drill, pull the tooth, cut off your head...just do something, anything to make this excruciating pain go away. Morning finally comes and you make the call to the dentist; the receptionist says, "Good morning. How can I help you?...I can get you in next week on Friday."

We treat sin in much the same way that we treat a toothache. We ignore the slight twinges of pain caused by our lusting. We find ways to justify our less than healthy attitudes and behaviors even when we know that there is something not right. "It was just a little sin."  We think that we are in control...until that dreadful moment in the middle of that dark night, when sin reaches adulthood and, as James writes, "becomes a real killer."

The good news is that we don't have to wait until morning to call for help. And no receptionist will offer us a ridiculously long wait for an appointment. God answers our calls 24/7. Once we name our sin (admit that the pain of the toothache is too much for us to bear on our own), unlike the dentist, God is immediately available and ready to relieve our pain. The treatment is always the same...forgiveness and God's unconditional love, freely given to us.

Holy God, I bring to you a heart broken and hurting because of my sins. Please help me. Please heal me. Please hold me. Amen