Where have I been? Bed-ridden. Possibly as a result of hanging out with the very youths I speak of today.
What did I have? I'm not sure, but you don't want to hear about it. It would gross you out.
And yet, I'm about to tell you the grossest object lesson I ever gave the youth group. It happened at the end of the meeting I mentioned in the last post.
Someone brought up the point, "If we don't have to worry about losing our salvation or having God get mad at us because we've sinned, is it a big deal if we just keep sinning?"
Okay, yes. The answer is yes. But only because understanding the magnitude of God's goodness in offering salvation and the full depravity of our sin should make us want to live a different kind of life. It's the same kind of answer I would give to someone who asks, "Can a person sin in Heaven?" Well, yeah, I guess. Satan and the other demons did. But if you were in the presence of God and aware of the consequences that come with it, why would you choose to sin? It'd be like watching someone lose their leg during Shark Week and then thinking, "Yeah, maybe I'll cut off my leg. Just to see what it's like." You'd probably have lost your mind, right?
Paul made a similar statement in Romans 6:1-2. "What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?"
After reading this in the youth group meeting, I had a thought. "I'll tell you how I think about this personally.
"When I was in high school, I didn't always cut my toenails. I ran around the beach a lot, swam in lakes, and never thought to wear sandals in the shower after gym class. So I ended up getting a pretty nasty fungal infection in both of my big toenails. They got all yellow and think and ingrown."
"Did they hurt?" Someone asked.
"Yeah, they hurt! After a few years, they hurt so bad I decided something had to be done. I didn't have insurance, and I didn't want to pay full price at a hospital, so I asked my friend Dale to pull them off with pliers."
A few of the kids paled. Awesome, I thought. Nothing like a gross object lesson during youth group. "I bit down on my bandana, gripped the sides of my chair, and Dale tore both of those suckers off my feet.
"I won't go into the part where I went to the emergency room the next day. The point is, it hurt worse than any pain I've ever felt. And I've had to go through this four times at the clinic since Dale first pulled them.
"Now, if I knew for sure after the first toenail pull I would get clean and healthy nails in their place, would I take care of them differently? Or would I live my life of poor foot hygiene like I did in high school? I can tell you this, I would I clip them regularly, wash my feet intentionally, and wear sandals in public showers. I would want to live differently."
And like I told the youths that night, I hope this story sticks with you.