Long before there was Google, there was Dr. C. Everett Koop’s Self-Care Advisor: Essential Home Health Guide for You and Your Family. A veritable hypochondriac’s playground, it was child’s play to follow the disease progression of every runny nose and headache to some dire diagnosis. Certain members of our family were discouraged from consulting it, not because it wasn’t helpful, but simply because it was too easy to read our fears into every minor symptom. And now we have Google, which allows us to believe every conceivable suggestion in the quest to convert our idiopathy into pathology. While the internet is helpful at gaining awareness of our symptoms, it is not always the best diagnostic tool and often the worse prognostic tool. Our preconceived fears make it impossible to be objective.
For this reason, we often give credence to every in-credible, speculative source of truth, while treating the most credible with skepticism or apathy. Many, solidly convinced by Facebook posts reporting aliens in Area 51, scoff at the idea of Jonah being swallowed by a large fish or God creating the world in six twenty-four hour days. But this credibility gap has less to do with the reasonableness of truth and more to do with its consequences. There are no immediate consequences if I accept that there are aliens in Area 51, but there are pressing and immediate consequences if the Bible is true. The moral demands of truth create a giant-blind spot for us called autonomy.
As bad as we are at self-diagnosing our physical ailments, the blind-spot of autonomy makes us utter quacks at recognizing our spiritual problems. We hate to accept responsibility and look at everyone and everything else as the reason for our “dysfunction.” The culture of victimization is as old as the world. When confronted with his sin, the first man Adam quickly blamed both his wife and God. “The woman whom you gave to be with me, she gave me fruit of the tree and I ate.” Genesis 3:12
But God has given us his word as a spiritual mirror, reflecting accurately our true condition. The scripture is able to accurately diagnose our spiritual condition and offer us the only known cure. The problem is that our pride refuses to acknowledge what we see there. God sent the prophet Jeremiah to his people as they approached the precipice of divine judgment, but their stubborn pride turned away from the thought of turning away from their sin. As we look on from our perspective in history, we can see their foolish stubbornness and gasp at their stunning unbelief. But are we that different?
Are we living our lives deaf and blind to the repeated calling of the word of God to confess and repent and find mercy? Will we look into the mirror of the law of God and see our real diagnosis and seek the only cure? Or will the blind spot of autonomy cause us to follow every quack remedy for our spiritually terminal condition? Jeremiah condemned the people of his day because they wanted to be lied to about their condition.
“An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely and the priests rule at their discretion; my people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end? … [for the prophets and priests] have healed the wound of my people lightly saying, ‘Peace, peace’ when there is no peace.” Jeremiah 5:31, 6:14
Join us this Sunday, August 4 as we consider what spiritual stubbornness looks like and see how the word of God diagnoses our real condition and offers us a proven cure. We meet from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in The Commons at St. Andrews Anglican Church at 8300 Kanis Rd in Little Rock. Click here for directions. Come with a friend and join us for fellowship and worship. We look forward to seeing you there.