How sin, like cancer, can spread slowly and silently within us.
Prostate cancer, unlike the more severe diagnoses, grows in men at a slow rate. My experience with that type of cancer was not a surprise since my father had the same type. After speaking to other men regarding this malady it was an eye opener that many of them were choosing to get an implant of some type to prevent surgery in lieu of removing the infected organ. However, I remember waiting for an appointment for another reason and while there speaking with a man from my church who was going to use this injection. He died only a couple of months later. Like other men I know with prostate cancer who are opting for this procedure are only gaining a small percentage of delaying death by getting this. We were all told this cancer is a very slow moving disease and many might outlive that chance of death by doing nothing. I chose not to attempt that path and had surgery. That was 28 years ago and I am cancer free.
My point on this is not to create either a plus or negative attitude towards my malady, but to point out the parallel between the progression of cancers that are undetectable early on and sin that also has a way of penetrating our complete person, with little disturbance. As we seem to go on our merry way, with no feelings of discomfort to our well-being can and will detect at some point the change to our individual outlook through internal disruption to ourselves and those we love as well.
The common results of not paying attention to any inward or outward conditions that may appear should be a warning that we need a professional doctor; (medical or spiritual) to analyze the problem and diagnose a remedy to attack this illness. If the immediate attention is needed by any of us because of a serious illness, we know that delaying a professional examination may have devastating effects that sometimes comes too late.
A parallel to physical infections not taken care of is the one where sin enters the human soul and if left alone will also dig a chasm within our mental and spiritual being. The only difference is a doctor can usually detect the virus, or disease that is likely to have fatal results if not corrected immediately, whereas with sin the only one to diagnose the severity will be us.
Of course, with physical maladies that must use medical attention as soon as possible to save our lives, the need to absolve sin will always be there to cleanse our soul and put us right with God, again.
To know when we must examine ourselves regarding any possibility of sin is to take a simple self-examination of where or when we slipped into an attractive situation where the knowledge of this is wrong, especially if the slip constitutes a deadly falling away from grace. Grace is God’s way of treating us as his adopted children with every precaution of falling away from him. If we have reached that point, the urging of the Holy Spirit will certainly let us know. You have an unexplainable pain that shouldn’t be there; get it looked at. If there is a sudden pulling at your soul which will be constant with some type of abnormal urging, you will have a need to seek reconciliation with God, the Church, and if needed with those around you.
Pain has always been the body’s way to alert us of an impending attack upon any of the many thousands of nerves, blood flow to and from the heart, and every possible disruption of our marvelous machine called you or me. With sin, the insidious disruption of our spiritual connection with God does not always find a way to let us know that it is time to make amends. It will always be an interruption of our faith, if we are open to it, when the Spirit again speaks to our empty spirit and fills it with God’s Grace to search ourselves and act accordingly.
Ralph B. Hathaway