by Tami Rudkin
Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick” (Matthew 9:12).
A young male made the news this week in our town. He was an addict; he had been repeatedly beaten; he had been abandoned by people who suspected the abuse; now he is dead because of a fatal blow to the head.
Know what else? He was eight months old.
I grew physically ill as the details became more public. During the months before the boy’s death, his arms had been broken in several places. The CT scans revealed he had many contusions to the head. He was born an addict. Because he could not feed his habit, he must have endured severe withdrawals.
The hospital and social services handed over this innocent to his addict mother shortly after birth. The estranged father never knew he had a son. The grandmother now grieves because she suspected the abuse, but never acted. My heart broke as details were reported, as commentators commented, and as friends wondered what has gone so wrong in our community.
In my lonely time of silence, I weep for a child who spent eight months in pain and total confusion. He naturally sought the warmth of a mother’s embrace; instead he suffered blows from those hands. He listened for the sweet sing-song of words to calm a restless night; instead he heard curses lashed at him. He sought warmth in the winter months, coolness in the heat; instead he experienced the sweltering breath of hell on his face.
I wonder what could have been done. I know this type of situation is common in our country. Still, my heart screams, “What is the problem?”
It is a cancer, an illness that begins with a tiny destructive cell. If not immediately detected and destroyed, it multiplies. The cancer grows larger, death’s fingers stretching to grasp at the spine or vital organs, or simply to find an empty space to inhabit. It’s sneaky because oftentimes this cancer waves no red flags of concern. The victim simply lives on in the same lifestyle, never realizing his life is in jeopardy. Eventually the cancer creeps into the heart, changing attitudes, relationships, and life’s importance before the victim recognizes it.
This cancer is sin.
The patient is now critically ill. After he has lived months, sometimes years, with the sickness, it seems he will never be cured. The patient, in work and family, has compromised his life too many times, never realizing his serious spiritual condition. The patient, in busyness and confusion, has driven away the thoughts of truth and meaning, never realizing they would be a lifeline when the rolling waves of temptation toss him to and fro. The patient, in moments of vulnerability, has given too much of his soul away, never realizing it could house the One who could heal him. The cancer, once secretly killing the patient, now holds nothing back: The war for the soul has begun.
And a eight month old baby boy is beaten in a rage and killed.
A wife steps out on her husband.
A brother hates his sister.
An employee steals from his employer.
A friend gossips about a friend.
A parent chooses a career over children.
A pastor forgets his calling.
A Christian slights the Savior.
Sin, a cancer of the soul. A sickness that begins as a tiny indiscretion of the heart. A simple thought of jealousy, an act of selfishness, a few words spoken untruthfully. A sickness that could have been stripped away with an acknowledgment, a moment of forgiveness, and a turnabout. A sickness that erupts in all kinds of evils and eventually controls us.
Cancer of this earthly body frightens even the most stouthearted among us. There are painful treatments of chemo and perilous surgical removals, but the complete cure is still a hope in the minds of many great scientists.
The cancer of sin is also operable. Certain treatments alleviate the ugliness for a while. However, the final cure lies in the hands of the Great Physician, Jesus — the one who has been intimately aware of our condition, tracking our illness from the beginning, seeking to eliminate the cells of destruction early. On many occasions He has called us, warning us of the battle waged within. We weren’t listening; we didn’t feel sick. But He has known all along that eventually the cancer would claim our peace of mind, joy of heart, and wholeness of spirit.
So the Physician has waited for our return, for our hope to be restored, for our desire to have the cure. This cancer of sin is a most despicable thing; it took the life of an eight-month-old baby, and it will take yours. Jesus said He came to earth to walk among the sick, not the healthy. He came to lay hands on the seeking, not the satisfied. He came to administer the cure, not a temporary fix. We have only to recognize our illness, and then Jesus, the well-qualified Specialist, will execute the complete healing of a soul and mind ravaged by the sickness of earth’s most frightening cancer.
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