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12 February 2010

public restrooms and conviction

This is the post that I said was going to be disgusting. I want to reiterate that before you read any further. It's not really "bathroom humor," but it does involve bathrooms and nasal congestion, so again, I suggest that you stop reading now if you're squeamish or you feel like you'll be participating in something untoward by reading it. I was going to use a visual aid (a photo), but I'm sure your imagination will do just fine.

Oh, and I need to say one more thing before continuing: this is really your last chance to stop reading.

Have you ever been in a public restroom? I'm betting that you have. These facilities will go from "generally neat and clean" to "oh, wow" and will hit all points in between. For this scenario, I need for you to imagine the "oh, wow" ones. Also, you'll need to imagine that you have problems with your nose/sinuses being stopped up. (It's worth noting that when someone says, "I have sinuses," you may congratulate them for being part of the human race. We all have them. When they're stopped up, however, that's where the problem comes in.)

Let's say you're having trouble with nasal passages being stopped up and the only place to go is the public restroom (I dunno -- you're on a road trip or something). As you venture into it, you notice how filthy it is. (I think this is probably going to be more typical of men's facilities, but I can't be certain.) You get to the toilet paper, roll off a bit of it, and start to blow your nose. If you're a manly man, you may want to imagine that you use the brown, cardboard-texture paper towels for this. Whatever is more realistic for you, imagine that.

After a few minutes of valiant attempts that only seem to succeed in more nasal air stoppage, suddenly you hit pay dirt -- sweet relief!!! Your nose is unstopped! This is a sensation that's not dissimilar to coming to the surface from an underwater swimming time where you've pushed your limits; you hit the surface and your first breath is as welcome as your favorite dessert would be after a meal.

You have managed the impossible -- fought with an uncooperative nose and won! And as you drink in the first whiff of air, your eyes suddenly grow as big as saucers... That's not air, it's toxic venom!

Now, what would you do at this point? Would you hang around in the putrid-smelling, nasty bathroom, or would you make a fast break for the door? Truth is, the longer you stay in a place like that, the more you'll get used to the smell.

Something like this is what happens when the Holy Spirit convicts a person of sin. Even if it comes after a time of God slowly revealing it to us, the moment of truth is often unmistakeable. Our eyes (or nostrils) are opened and we become aware that we're in a place we don't want to be. I'm convinced that we don't always run for the Door at that point, and if we hang around that place for long, we'll become acclimated to our surroundings. Things that can keep us there are rationalization, compromise, tradition, not removing ourselves from sources of temptation, etc.

If only we could always see our surroundings for what they really are.


Tony M said...

How true. And, as Mr. Milt always tried to tell the boys, it's much easier to say "No!" to something before it becomes part of your life (i.e., before it become "habitual sin" - or even "casual sin").

It's always, it seems, these simple truths that we "experienced Christians" seem to miss or mess up or gloss over (I'd have used the term "Christ follower," but somehow "Christian" seems more temporally accurate here).

Preston N said...

A parable that I think Jesus would be proud of! True to Life, True to Reason.

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