bits from bob....


by Robert J. Young
©, 2006, Robert J. Young

[permission is given to reprint with credit noted]

I wish I could say that this catchy title is original, but it is not. What I write was first suggested by an article by Johnny Kerns which appeared in the Fort Gibson (OK) church of Christ bulletin (October 2005).

Well-documented is the tendency of humans and other animals to adapt to or become accustomed to their environments. Chameleons can change color based on their surroundings, animals may have different colored fur at various seasons of the year to make them harder to see. Most remember the story of the frog who will quickly attempt to jump out when placed in hot water, but will sit and cook to death when placed in cold water with the water temperature raised slowly. Human beings likewise become accustomed to surroundings. Our eyes adjust to levels of light. Our bodies adjust to changes in climate. When my family and I moved from Michigan to Oklahoma a few years ago, we scarcely needed jackets during that first winter.

In the article I mentioned, Kerns wrote, "Remember when gasoline prices first exceeded $2 a gallon? Remember most people's reactions? Some were shocked, upset and even outraged over them. But prices did not stop there. As we all know, they continued to climb to...$3 a gallon. Now prices have plummeted in just a few days.... Is everyone still upset? No, we are relieved that prices have dropped. We have accepted a new level. We have become desensitized to the current price of gasoline."

Indeed, this is also our experience with evil and sin in our world. As an elder recently observed in a Sunday evening presentation, we bring into our homes television shows with language suitable only for the gutter, and over a period of desensitization we reach a point where we hardly notice it. In a Bible class a few years ago, a deacon recommended a movie with the comment that there was nothing bad in the movie-not even significant language problems. My wife and I rented the movie and were appalled almost immediately by the language and story line. We lasted less than 15 minutes before we rewound it and put it back in the sleeve to return it. We become accustomed to revealing styles of dress and adopt them ourselves. We and our children adopt unsuitable slang expressions. We become desensitized to our surroundings, and slowly change our views of what is normal and what is accepted. Sadly, my grandmother in her later years watched soap operas she would never have considered in her younger days.

Experiences like these reinforce the importance of internal change (transforming) which can combat the external pressures of our world (conforming). Mind renewal makes clear God's will.

As you live life, pay attention! I pray that sin might be as repulsive to me as it is to God. May God help us have the mind of Christ, as partakers of the divine nature, and to see sin as God sees it.

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Last updated November 7, 2006