"It doesn't fit my hand!" That was the excuse an old friend would always offer whenever there was a job that required a shovel, rake, or hoe. Well, in reality, such tools don't fit anyone's hand. The evidence of this fact is seen in the soreness and blisters that appear when these implements are first employed. But, if you stick with it, you can get over the irritation. In fact, seasoned workers develop callouses from their prolonged exposure. They no longer feel the pain. Callouses, you see, result in a reduced sensitivity to the things that would normally cause an unpleasant reaction.

There is a spiritual parallel to the scenario we have just described. However, in this realm it is a hurtful rather than helpful phenomenon. It goes like this: A Christian is in repeated contact with the elements of this world. The immorality, violence, vulgarity, immodesty, sensuality and wickedness of society are an affront to his spiritual sensitivities. He is troubled by what he sees -- it hurts him. But, little by little, he begins to grow hardened to this irritation. Oh, yes, he still recognizes sin, but somehow it just does not torture him quite so much when he sees it. At first, for instance, he would turn off a TV program in disgust when sex or bad language was aired. But now, because of his prolonged exposure to such things, he can sit right through it -- taking it all in -- and in the process growing even more calloused to the wickedness he sees. Gradually, he demonstrates less and less discretion about the things he sees and hears, about the places he goes, the things he does, the way he talks, the clothes he wears. You see, his very spiritual being has been altered. He has become calloused by the evil culture.

In Sodom, Lot was "oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men" and he was "tormented day after day with their lawless deeds" (2 Pet. 2:7,8). But, he stayed on -- year after year -- until, finally, he suffered the loss of everything. We can ill afford to follow his sad example. Let us all remain sensitive to the evils around us, and join the Psalmist in saying: "From thy precepts I get understanding; therefore I hate every false way" (Ps. 119:104).

By Greg Gwin

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