Bob was a health enthusiast; he ate well and exercised daily, regularly competing in triathlons. At 40, he was by all accounts a figure of health. However, upon finishing a ten-mile run one day, he experienced slight dizziness and a mild headache for the first time. Because symptoms came and went, he shrugged them off; after all, he considered himself in excellent shape. Then one day, while having lunch with a doctor friend, who was a fellow marathon runner, Bob mentioned his on and off symptoms, which now included occasional vision problems.
The doctor recommended an MRI of the brain just to be safe. The more Bob considered his friend’s recommendation, the more he convinced himself the advice was unnecessary. After all, how could anything serious be wrong with someone in such excellent physical health? Finally, Bob assured himself that the symptoms were minor and would subside in time.
Bob’s symptoms became increasingly frequent and grew worse as time went on. But again, he chose to tough it out, self-assured his healthy body would right itself. Then one day, during strenuous exercise, he lost balance and almost passed out. As his symptoms grew worse, he finally took the doctor’s advice and had an MRI, which unfortunately revealed a very aggressive malignant brain tumor. But unfortunately, even though the neurological specialists did all that was possible, it was too late; Bob’s cancer had metastasized. He was given three to six months to live. Sadly, Bob’s stubborn refusal to face the apparent reality of his condition cost him his life.
Humanity’s natural propensity is to resist and dismiss adverse circumstances and unpleasant situations. We especially shun incriminating truths, those that invoke conviction.
However, denial is a temporal refuge, a poor choice in the long run. Ignoring or denying reality often results in terrible consequences and lasting regrets.
“You can ignore reality, but you cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.” Ayn Rand
There are unpleasant yet inescapable realities in both the physical and spiritual realm; the latter is of eternal consequence. The Bible, God’s infallible Word, contains a pernicious prognosis concerning all humanity, an unpalatable pronouncement of an inborn fatal malady called sin.
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10) “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God…” (Romans 3:23). “For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good and sinneth not.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20)
The above Scripture verses are a personal indictment of the inherent self-righteousness of man—shattering the myth of self-sufficiency. A deflating blow to man’s pride and ego, therefore vehemently denied—especially by a narcissist personality. Of course, no one welcomes a negative diagnosis, physical or spiritual, but denial can be fatal, as we saw in our fictional character Bob. We can run from reality, but we will lose the race in the long run “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23), and Christ has died that death for us (1 Peter 2:24).
Pride is the opposite of humility; just as humility opens the door to eternal life, pride closes it. An honest, humble self-perspective is a virtuous character trait in this life. Concerning our eternal destiny, it is pivotal. “God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.” (1 Peter 5:5b). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Eph.2:8-9).
Just as Bob’s stubborn refusal to face the apparent reality of his physical condition; cost him his life, those who deny the reality of God’s assessment will forfeit the opportunity of spiritual life, everlasting life. “No one is so blind as the one who doesn’t want to see.”
In reality, self-righteousness is nothing more than a form of self-deception that excludes us from God’s righteousness.
“For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) [Emphasis mine]. Relying on self-righteousness for salvation is the ultimate folly, which results in eternal damnation; consider Job 35:2 & Obad. 1:3.
“Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18).
Picture credit: WallpaperAccess
- W. Weckeman
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