Asbury United Methodist Church
Love - Share - Tell - Serve

January 31, 2018

          I think today could be a good day to talk about denial.  And, yes indeed we all know the drill that de-Nile is not a river in Egypt.

          What prompted my thinking was seeing an advertisement for a Lowes credit card.  Are you sitting down?  They only charge 26.99% interest on their credit line!

          I know!  I had a heart attack too! 

          I considered that even if I could get in on some of that action, get a 26.99% return on my money and all, I do not believe my conscience would allow me to earn it off my neighbors.

          But, Lowes makes things very attractive.  Did you know that you can buy almost anything from these folks and be charged zero percent interest…if you pay it all off in six-months?

          OK, so you need a washing machine, why not put it on the credit card and intend to pay it off in six months?  All well and good but then the dryer breaks.

          What’s one more thing on the credit card…right?  So, we buy a dryer thinking we can handle the debt and all and then the refrigerator begins to make a strange noise.

          See what I mean?  Nobody ever says, “Hey sign me up to pay 26.99%!

          But, here’s the deal, we start off on first base, never considering that we might wind up getting thrown out running to third base!  In other words, we don’t wake up one day and decide to go into debt to the tune of 26.99% interest….per year!

          Instead, we step out on that slippery slope and the next thing we know we’re in a freefall! And, this pattern seems to prevail in other areas of life besides credit card debt too.

          Do you remember the Prodigal Son?  He didn’t leave his father’s house determined to wind up in a pig pen.

          The Prodigal took baby steps on a slippery slope and over a period of time and through numerous thoughtless decisions, the ground came up and hit him.  This is why denial can be so deadly.

          I have a colleague who used to own a commercial restoration business.  His company would go into homes and clean up…anything.

          For example, maybe a gruesome murder had taken place.  His job was to do restoration work so that the insurance company could resell the property.

          My pal’s comment to me was that there was almost nothing that could be done to completely remove blood stains.  You can remove carpet, clean floors and repaint walls but the stain will still be there.

          Imagine what that unsuspecting new homeowner would feel about that newly painted and carpeted dreamhouse if they could see the blood stains that were still present.

          In many ways, we deny, even though the stain of our misstep is still there!  We find ourselves in that place called Far Away and have no real clue as to how we could possibly have fallen so far and so deep.

          There’s massive debt on that credit card and Lowes is laughing all the way to the bank.  We’ve stepped over that line of honesty just a little bit and before we realize it a tidal wave has shoved us into the land of Far Away.

          In a story that is cringeworthy, the Mighty King David became a murderer.  He had his faithful, honest and trustworthy solider named Uriah carry his own death warrant message to David’s battlefield general named Joab, who had him killed.

          And, get this…David had also gotten Uriah’s wife pregnant.  And, my guess is that David did not see Bathsheba that day taking a bath on the roof of her house and say, “You know what, I am going to kill Uriah!”

          In the late 17th century, the English had a saying, “In for a penny, in for a pound.”  It means that if something is worth doing, then we ought to go all in lock, stock, and barrel.

          But, I don’t think this applies to denial.  Even so, this is usually what happens.

          We can get over our heads so quickly that it is blinding.  We find ourselves all in, even though we never intended for this to happen.

I have spent some time in prisons visiting church members in the past.  Each time, as I am leaving it never ceases to amaze me as to how fine the line is between being in prison and not being in prison.

These people did not wake up one day and say, “Hey, I think I will go to prison!”  We can just get so deep into a thing that we become lost in the forest.

What to do?  What to do?

There is always good news.  At any place along the journey we do have the option of surrendering to Christ.

Denying will only dig us deeper in our hole.  So, we begin by telling the truth in a holy way.  Our process of recovery takes shape as we do the next right thing.

“It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV).”

To boil it down, Christ will find a way for us to recover.  It may not be a picnic at first, when we rip that band-aid off, but he will lead us forward through baby steps; and before long we will begin to move out of our proverbial ditch.

Finally, I always say that if King David could recover, all of us stand a great chance of recovery!  David would move on from Far Away to a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14).

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