<%@ Page Language="VB" ContentType="text/html" ResponseEncoding="iso-8859-1" %> Untitled Document HURTING OURSELVES

It was over a year ago, but something got me thinking about it recently. After Sunday evening worship, a group of us went to a local restaurant. This particular restaurant was noted for the hot, buffalo wings it served, in fact, they had degrees of wings rated according to the pain they might inflict. I can't remember now, but the ratings were something like the following: mild, warm, hot, super hot and dangerous.

Now I have never been one to enjoy painful food. I figure if I want to suffer while eating, I can simply stab myself in the mouth with my fork. Accordingly, I ordered a salad. Others at the table -- mostly of the male persuasion -- debated which level of pain to order. I'm not sure how it got out of hand, but
eventually three of the males dared each other to order the "dangerous" wings. I sat in wonder. Why would anyone intentionally hurt himself?

After a twenty-minute wait, the food for our table finally arrived. I enjoyed my salad. It was flavorful and more importantly didn't render me incapacitated. I enjoyed even more watching the self-inflicted pain experienced by my brothers in Christ. Three of them -- the most competitive -- proceeded to eat the dangerously hot wings. The results were predictable: faces turned bright red, beads of sweat popped out on their foreheads, gasps of agony were overheard, and large volumes of water were consumed in a futile attempt to quench the spicy fires burning in their mouths.

This wasn't dinner, this was a kind of last supper Armageddon -- the end of taste buds and common sense as we know it. I watched in wonder and fascination.

I'm not sure what reminded me of the sight of these three people intentionally hurting themselves, but it got me thinking about spiritual matters and a spiritual application: Why is it that Christians -- people who have been saved and who know better -- will do things that hurt them? Why will they turn back to the world and sin when they know better? Such spiritual self-destruction simply doesn't make sense. Peter put it in graphic, even sickening terms when he said, "If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them. Of them the proverbs are true: 'A dog returns to its vomit, and the sow that is washed returns to wallowing in the mire'" (2 Pet. 2;19-22).

Self destruction is, sadly, all too common amongs Christians. We need to stop hurting ourselves by self indulgence and sin. You think hot wings are hot? Think again. There is some real heat awaiting those who refuse to serve the Lord. John tells us Jesus has "His winnowing fork is in His hand to clear His threshing floor and to gather the wheat into His barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" (Lk. 3:17).

By Matt Hennecke via, Gospel Power, Vol. 13, No. 42, Oct. 15, 2006.

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