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26 November 2009

thanksgiving and instant hand sanitizer

Happy Thanksgiving! I noticed that this is my 601th (even better than "601st") post. I suppose that's appropriate somehow, but in what way I'm not exactly sure.

God has blessed us, and has allowed us to be blessed, with so many material things that my prayer is that we will be able to love Him with all our hearts, fix our eyes firmly on Him, and obey Him in spite of all these things; not just because of them.

Some time last week I sent a tweet (a message on Twitter) that said something like this: Waterless hand sanitizer is excellent for discovering small cuts and scratches that you were previously unaware of. (I chose this particular image because at first it looks like the burn of the hand sanitizer has actually stripped the skin clean off of a hand. In actuality, the image is made up of lots of things that the sanitizer sanitizes.) That tweet was automatically posted at my Facebook page, and friend and commenter Preston noted there, "I'm sure there's a biblical analogy in there somewhere!"And so there is!

If you have a different or better analogy, you're invited to leave a comment explaining it. Here is mine...

I've been reading through Psalm 119 in one of the many "read the Bible through in a year" plans, and it's striking that the author (taken to be either David or Ezra) repeatedly communicates this idea to God: "I love you so much that your commands are life to me, and I hate sin because I love you so much." So one analogy would be that the hand sanitizer represents sin, and its presence should cause stinging pain to the person whose life is centered on their love for God.

There are other analogies to be had. One, for instance, would be that the hand sanitzer represents the Holy Spirit, and when we are made aware of sin it hurts horribly.

As with many sermon illustrations that are given from pulpits across America, this analogy does little to help anyone in his walk with Christ, in my opinion. The best way that I can see for it to have any lasting impact in reminding us that we're to live a life of holiness (1 John 2 is a great chapter for this -- read the whole thing) is to make it into a physical experiment:

Gentlemen, when you've just finished shaving, be sure to have a bottle of waterless hand santizer... ah... on hand. When you've just gotten through scraping your face with the razor and wiping off the excess shaving cream (or when you've put down your electric razor), use the sanitizer instead of aftershave.

Ladies, use this process after you shave your legs. (Is this inappropriate for me to put on a blog? I'm not sure, but I don't think so, because it's pretty much a day-to-day occurrence in America.)

I believe that taking physical steps to drive the illustration home will go a long way in reminding us that our body's pain receptors are reacting in the same way that our hearts should react to sin in our own lives. It's something that we won't want to keep doing.


Preston N said...

A hearty Amen! Not only should we not forget the importance of understanding how sin brings pain to the heart and mind of a Christ Follower, but the "sting" that sin brings to the heart of God. How God's heart must break on a daily basis as he observes billions of people engaging in sin. This should help motivate us all not to bring such grief to the one we love so dearly and intimately.

Tony M said...

Well, that's certainly one way to put those "sermon illustrations" into practice in a tangible way! Very interesting post; think I'll have to re-read it when I'm not quite so tired (from eating and stuffing myself and travelling too much).

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