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–       Infection, poison, bacteria, these are not things I like to think about. In fact, I avoid discussions regarding medical issues as much as possible. Maybe that’s why it took my oldest son a whole year at college to figure out it might be a field he enjoys! So, why would I want to bring it up now? Why discuss an issue I avoid at all cost?

Last week, my right thumb (yes, I am right-handed) started feeling tender. I thought I must have bumped it on something, but for the life of me I could not remember doing so. No big deal, right? I continued on my merry way never dreaming of the poison teeming under my skin. By the time I went to the doctor five days later, I had quite an infection that hampered me in ways I never imagined. After all, it’s just my thumb, right? The pain crippled my whole body and at that point it was a matter of getting out what had developed from a microscopic issue that wreaked havoc.

Hmmm…surely there is nothing in the church body that I could relate to this, is there? Surely there is nothing I could possibly think of in my own life that I have let seep down into the marrow and wreak havoc?

Hebrews 12:15, says, “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;”

Any root, any infectious seed of bitterness toward someone can cause in my spiritual life what happened in the physical. Think about it, when we allow a word, an unkind look, a thought to take root, that seed, that core, that infection can grow to massive proportions. Believe me, it is never worth it.

On Thursday, or even Friday, if I had taken the initiative to go to my doctor, I would have never felt the pain that I felt the next week.

Bitterness is the same way. If I take an issue immediately to the Savior and say, “I am so upset. Please don’t allow me to let this issue to go into my life and cause harm,” He will help me. Psalm 62:8 tells us to pour out our heart to God. He is a refuge to us. We are not our own power source. Only God can do this. II Corinthians 10:5, tells us to take our thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ. We have got to ask the Holy Spirit to take those thoughts from our minds and place them into the hands of Jesus. Not just once, but EVERY TIME the issue pops up.

But, as I’ve already told you, I did not go to the doctor early, I waited. By the time I went to the doctor, I could not function normally. Tasks that normally would have taken no effort were impossible. I tried to do things with four fingers, but let me tell you, opposable thumbs are a big a deal! Then, the pain was just so bad, I couldn’t even try.

The Body of Christ is the same way. We try to function around someone or something that is infected but we cannot do the same things that we were made to do. God placed certain parts (people) in our church for certain tasks that only they can do, but when there is infection, the tasks cannot be completed. We might get by for a while, but eventually the pain is so unbearable that the whole Body is affected.

What do you do when you wait? What do you do when the infection has built up and the pain is unbearable and you don’t even want to address the issue because it is overwhelming? You see that the whole Body is affected, but what do you do?

You still go to your Great Physician. You still pour your heart out to Him. Is it painful? Yes. Is it necessary? Yes. To be completely healed all of the infection must leave. The process will be longer because the root is deeper, but we want to be healthy, so we lay it out for the Holy Spirit to draw out the filth and heal us to the marrow of our bones.

Proverbs 12:12, says, “…the root of the righteous yields fruit.” Jesus told us to bear fruit and that we will be known by our fruit. We cannot hide our infection no matter how tightly we wrap it up. No matter how much padding I had on my thumb, if you had touched it, I would have cried. Why? It was unhealthy. No matter how tightly we wrap our roots of infection, of bitterness, if someone touches our “sore spot”, everyone will know it. The Body of Christ cannot function this way. I Corinthians tells us that we are all fitly joined together in the design that our Savior has created. If one of us hurts, we all hurt. If one of us is infected, we are all infected.

Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to purify and restore us. Let’s allow Him to prick our hearts regarding deep-seated prejudice, strife and gnawing relationship issues. Let’s pray for Him to draw out the poison that has been sucking the very life out of our families and churches and whatever we do let us not close up our own wounds, but allow our Savior in His time and when He says we are healed, to bind us up and restore us as whole brothers and sisters in Christ.

Shoo! Who knew that a throbbing thumb could teach?   Image