Owner’s Manual

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As you know I have been having issues with my back. I have a disc that has [insert long fancy medical words here]; which basically means part of my disc is pressing on the nerve that runs down my left leg. It hurts in my leg—but the problem is in my back. I have had 2 shots in my back and am still doing physical therapy. I am feeling much better. The pain and tingling still come and go—but everything feels much better. In the middle of all of this I had my routine physical. Apparently, my doctor wasn’t sure I was following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding my back so he gave me a booklet titled, “Back Owner’s Manual”. According to this 16-page booklet with pictures, there are right ways and wrong ways to lie in bed, lounge on the couch, sit in a chair, and lift things. The interesting thing is, you can still watch TV whether you lounge correctly or not. Sleep is still possible in the “wrong position” even though there is a big red line through the picture.

Without being offended, let me say I think the Bible is a lot like this “Back Owner’s Manual” I was recently given. Anyone can lift, and sit, and sleep, and stand the wrong way—completely ignoring the directions provided by my fancy back manual. People can and often continue to improperly use and care for their backs—even after doctor’s warnings; those warnings, however, contain some stiff consequences. Misusing your back will most likely cause years of pain, problems and issues. Worse even if that person corrects their behavior and starts caring for their back, even if they maintain excellent posture for the rest of their days, the damage and possibly the symptoms of their prior bad back choices will stay with them. Likewise, you can also live life, enjoy many things, and accomplish much while ignoring the Bible. If someone lives life their own way, they most likely face pain, problems and issues in all aspects of life whenever their way is different from God’s way. Problems will find their way into relationships and into their daily life. Evidence of their poor living will be found in their job performance, their stability, their health and so much more. And while God will forgive sin in all of these areas if one would simply turn to Him, repent and follow His plans—the symptoms from their prior bad choices will remain with them. Broken relationships may heal—but scars will remain. They might become a model citizen and a model employee—but their references and their record will follow them.

Not sure, just ask David, one night of indiscretion with Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11) plagued the rest of his life and his family for generations. Besides losing the child conceived that night (2 Samuel 12), David faced heartache, sword, and betrayal from within his own family. One of his sons raped one of his daughter’s, and another son murdered that rapist (2 Samuel 13). Still another tried to seize his throne (2 Samuel 15-18). David was a man after God’s own heart and a man who received much forgiveness from God—but he was also a man covered with many scars.

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