Severing the Ability to Blush
A few days ago I heard about a ‘new and amazing’ breakthrough in cosmetic surgery. For approximately $6,000.00 U.S., you can have the nerves which affect blushing in the face severed, and thus never again suffer from embarrassment (or at least one visible sign thereof). Sounds like a rather excessive and expensive experiment (and perhaps exasperating and excruciating if it does not work as is supposed). However, I want us to focus on another method used by some to escape blushing.
In Jeremiah 6:15, and again in 8:12, we read, "'Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time I punish them, they shall be cast down,' says the LORD."
Realize that these things were written, not to those who were aliens of the commonwealth of Israel, but to God’s own people. The simple fact is that as the regularity of sin increases, the hardness of the heart will likewise increase. Israel had committed abominable things before the Lord but had become comfortable with their iniquities. The problem began at the religious leaders, for the Lord says, "...everyone is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely." (6:13). And yet, to salve the conscience, "...they have also healed the hurt of My people slightly, saying, 'Peace, peace!', when there is no peace." (6:14). How devastating when God's people will heed falsehoods, to the end that they might continue in unrighteousness conduct.
The apostle Paul urged Christians to not walk in the ways of the Gentiles, who conduct themselves "...in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (Ephesians 4:17-19). We might choose to walk in such a way, but Paul asserts, "...you have not so learned Christ." (4:20). To walk in such waywardness should bring great shame upon a child of God, and yet Paul says by the Spirit, "...in latter times some will depart from the faith...having their own conscience seared with a hot iron..." (1 Timothy 4:1-2). The Christian can so sin as to lose the capacity to feel shame, severing the ability to blush.
Of the enemies of the cross of Christ, Paul says their "...end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame – who set their mind on earthly things." (Philippians 3:19). The capability to feel shame has escaped such individuals; indeed, what should be their shame has become a source of glory to them. Is this not what we are witness to in Corinth, as the brethren there gloried in the sexual immorality of one of their own (1 Corinthians 5)? Members of Christ are in no wise exempt from standing plain-faced in the path of sin.
We are cautioned, "...let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall." (1 Corinthians 10:12). Consider some areas where we must be careful not to forget how to blush:
· What kind of things do we let into our homes via the television? Do we blush at the presence of sexual content or filthy language and return the movie, change the channel, or turn off the television? Or, has our conscience become seared to these abominable things?
· What of the company that we keep? Has our view of sin been softened on account of the evil actions of those who closely associate with us? Do we condemn sin for what it is, or do we put up with it (and eventually not view it as the hideous thing that it is)? Do we believe the apostle Paul when he writes "evil company corrupts good habits" (1 Corinthians 15:33)?
· How do we use our time? Who do we serve with the resources and abilities that God has given: ourselves or the Lord? Do we spend more of our energy on worldly endeavors than on the godly?
May we not lose the capacity to blush. Certainly, I pray that there not be many occasions upon which we have necessity to blush, but woe to those who know not how to blush. If we feel no shame about things which are contrary to the ways of the Lord, we will have no compulsion to mend our ways (2 Corinthians 7:8-11).
With this new surgical procedure, I am confident there will be some in the world who will no more turn several shades of red when something embarrassing happens. However, let it not be that any of the household of God should not feel shame, and blush when we embrace that which is abominable to our Father.