Drug Resistant Diseases and Hardness of Heart
When I go to the hospital, that place built for healing, I am always particularly careful to wash my hands and use those hand cleaning wall dispensers that are everywhere. I do this because we know that some of the most lethal and drug resistant diseases can be caught in the hospital. This happens because they have been “almost cured” but because they were not completely killed they have developed resistance to the drugs meant to kill them.
Over the years I have observed in the church that in many cases those least likely to respond to the “Good News”, or least likely to respond to a new way of thinking or acting or understanding of Scripture are those who have been a member of the church the greatest number of years.
The correlation here is this. If we are in the church and are hearing God’s Truth through pastors, teachers, endless devotionals and Sunday School lessons but we do not respond to those teachings by surrendering our will or by allowing the Spirit of God to search our heart, try us and prove us or as Psalm 139:23-24 puts it, “Investigate my life, O God, find out everything ab out me; Cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life” (The Message) the same thing happens to us.
We can be exposed to enough Truth from God to bring us to a place of conviction about what we must do or stop doing. But if we resist that ‘nudge’ by the Spirit within us, we become a little more ‘Truth resistant”. Little by little, year by year our hearts can get to the place where we are no longer able to be convicted by the Spirit of God.
Then what can happen is that when some young and teachable person comes alongside those whose hearts have become hardened, those subtle ways of resisting God’s movement in our hearts may be learned, even without realizing it. After a few years, we become immersed in the ‘culture’ of such a church, becoming ever more resistant.
These churches, like the hospital is meant for physical healing, are meant to be a place where we find forgiveness, healing for our damaged emotions, a vibrant relationship with God and others. But those very places meant for healing may be transformed to a place where someone is least likely to know God or be reconciled with others. This is perhaps the greatest of all tragedies.
But this does not need to be the case. I read today in Mark’s gospel where Jesus cast out those well meaning, misguided busybodies and raised a little girl from death! Today, in many of our places built for spiritual healing, no less miracle is needed!