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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sin: The Fat Lip

God speaks to me in the strangest places and times. He's always showing me things through my children.

Yesterday He gave me an illustration about sin.

So many times we think about sin as big, bad, and ugly. But often it's feels good, and seems like the right thing at the time.

It's not always even about that exact moment. It can be a symptom of a bigger issue, and we are deceived into believing it's about right now.

We may have people in our lives telling us we're up to no good, but we don't believe them. We are the ones right there feeling it, and dealing with it; we want to do, what we want to do.

It feels good; so it must be God, right?

sin the fat lip

Today Zechariah has a fat lip. He gave it to himself much to the dismay of those around him.

Yesterday we had an appointment with the dentist. Zechariah had his first cavity filled. The dentist went in and fixed the problem. But when he was fixing it; he had to numb Zechariah's mouth so he wouldn't feel any pain. God does the same thing for us. He sees an area where we've made some wrong choices, or bad things have happened to us, and He wants to reach in and help us out. He must first get to the root of the problem. This can be very painful, but He uses His powerful anesthesia while He works on us.

After the dentist was done, Zech came out into the waiting room with me. They told me to watch him closely because they noticed he kept biting down on his lip. This was going to result in much pain later.

I constantly would get on Zech for the biting; telling him how painful it would be in a couple of hours. He didn't care! He kept saying, "I like it. It feels good." and sometimes it was, "I need to get that gum off of there." He simply couldn't understand the numbness his mouth was experiencing. He interpreted the only way he knew how. It was a piece of gum stuck to his mouth, and it must be removed.

This went on for a few hours. They gave me extra cotton to put in his mouth, hoping it would keep him from biting down on his lip. It didn't work. He continually chewed the cotton like it was a piece of gum. It may have protected the lip a little bit, but it was still getting chewed every now and then.

The result was, hours later, he was left with a big fat lip. The picture doesn't even do justice to the pain he inflicted on himself. The inside is completely chewed up and swollen. He's having a hard time eating because his mouth won't open all the way.

I asked him over and over again to stop biting. I saw the blood dripping out of his mouth and understood the pain that would eventually come. Zechariah didn't understand and he persisted in hurting himself. No matter how many reasons I gave for not biting his lip, all he cared about was that it felt good right now. He couldn't see the long term pain it would cause him.

I'm sure you can already guess where I'm going with this. We have this issue in our lives, something so big we can't even fathom all the aspects of it. The wrong choices we make in our lives, the sin, is often a symptom of a larger issue. The sin is what we are doing to mask our pain. A lot of times, rather than deal with the original problem, we get a whole new set of problems.

And sin can feel oh so good at the time. People around us can see the path we're taking is going to lead where we don't want to go, but we are blinded by the immediate symptom that is staring us in the face. We want our quick fix to make us feel better. We don't realize the numbness is going to wear off and we're going to be stuck with a great big fat lip!

That's why God places friends and family in our lives. They help hold us accountable if they're doing their job right.

We need to be sensitive to those around us. We could be walking around with a potentially large fat lip. What if, instead of biting down during our numbness, we figured out what was really going on inside of us?

I'll use myself as an example. I've told you before, my weakness is my mouth. I use my words to hurt people, a lot of time, my own children. I have a short tempter, and I yell at them without much thought.

The thing is, most of the time, my short temper has nothing to do with my children. It's a symptom. Sometimes what's really going on is my feelings got hurt by someone else and I'm taking it out on them. Or maybe I'm worried about something that's coming up in the future and it feels better to yell. Or maybe I'm feeling guilty about something and I haven't confessed it to God.

When I yell at someone, because of some hidden pain inside of me, it's wrong. I need to deal with my numb feeling before me and my kids both end up with a fat lip. Our sin can cause others pain too. It's like the domino effect. I hurt them, so they hurt someone, who then goes on to hurt another person. We must be the domino that quits working. We need to work on ourselves before we inflict pain on another individual.

We must stop giving ourselves a fat, swollen lip. And if you see others around you who are biting down during their numbness, gently remind them of the pain to come. We must ask God to give clarity to our lives. He is the only true anesthesia.

"Could it be any clearer? Our old way of life was nailed to the cross with Christ, a decisive end to that sin-miserable life—no longer at sin's every beck and call! What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ's sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That's what Jesus did." Romans 6:6-11

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