by Tad Lindley
For many of the illnesses and injuries of horses, particularly prior to modern medicine, there was only one approved treatment. It involved a rapid infusion of lead into the horse’s head at which point the broken leg or the gastric distress ceased to be a problem.
Thank God we’re not horses
Not so with human medicine, thank God. Most maladies have some type of treatment that works readily. For the headache, there is aspirin. For pinworms, there is turpentine. When a bone is broken, it is set and a cast is installed. When a person has cancer, the solution is often surgery or chemotherapy. If the heart is sick, vessels are cut away from another part of the body and sewn into the heart. In the most extreme situations, the old heart is removed, and a donated heart transplanted. This is a very risky procedure.
Choosing your sickness
Given a choice of the above ailments, nearly all of us would choose the headache. It’s a whole lot easier to wash down two aspirin with water than it is to eat a piece of cake impregnated with turpentine. Doctors and nurses are always ranking illnesses as part of their job. If they didn’t, people would be getting medivaced to Anchorage for a minor headache, while people with gunshot wounds bled to death in the hospital waiting room.
Which Sin is Worst
We tend to order sin as to its severity as well. Please out the following sins in order from most sinful (1) to least sinful (8). I’ve included scripture references if you want to investigate.
___Adultery (Exodus 20:14, II Sam. 12:10)
___Cheating on taxes (Leviticus 19:35, Acts 5:5)
___Eating beaver strangled in a snare (Acts 15:29)
___Getting drunk on Friday night (Isaiah 5:22,24)
___Killing another person to make your quality of life better (Exodus 20:13, 23:7)
___Pride (Proverbs 6:16-17)
___Wasting time (Proverbs 19:15)
___Overeating (Ezekiel 16:49)
(Some readers won’t consider certain things to be a sin, but if you examine the references I have given, you will see that God considers all these things to be sin.)
Check your score
Many of us might put abortion, or adultery as number one. We may have put overeating near the bottom after all we live in a land of plenty. And proud, we all could point to someone and criticize them and declare how much better we are. Would it surprise you to know that God destroyed an entire city because they were proud, overfed, and idle? (Ezekiel 16:49, Genesis 19:24) That’s pretty serious. What about eating an animal that was strangled in a snare? According to the Bible, Christians don’t do it. (For more on this, see Acts 15:29.)
What is the correct order for most sinful to least sinful? It actually doesn’t matter. You see, sin is like horse medicine. The Bible tells us that the spiritual solution for all of these things is death. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
Aspirin or Heart Transplant?
There is a thought among us that some people are a whole lot more messed up than others. It goes like this: Sin is just like medicine, some folks just need a couple of aspirin, and others need a heart transplant. In other words, people with only minor sins can get by with a small dose of Christianity. On the other hand, people who are in really bad shape need to have a Holy Roller experience. It is as if a president was somehow closer to heaven than a prostitute or as if a mayor didn’t need as much of God as a manic depressive might.
Regardless of who we are, there is nothing we can do on our own to fix ourselves. We need Jesus. In fact we need as much of Jesus as we can get. Amen? At the cross, the CEO is on the same level as the CRO (cash register operator). Spiritually, none of us is so good that we don’t need a heart transplant.
Heart transplant please
The Lord introduced this way back in the Old Testament. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? (Ezekiel 18:31) A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26)
Many will try to get by with two aspirin, shaking the preacher’s hand and signing a decision card. Reader, I hope you will stand up with me and say, “Lord, I’ll take the heart transplant please. I want to cast away my old life in repentance, be buried with Him in baptism, and rise up to walk in newness of life”.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.