For some, when they first feel a fever, runny nose, or other cold symptom, they deny to everyone, including themselves, that they’re sick. In fact, they’ll work hard to prove they’re not sick and refuse any medication or treatment. Ultimately, no matter how subborn they are, these folks can’t outrun the cold or flu. In the Bible, Jesus clearly defines our sickness, but are we foolishly pretending to be well?
“For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these things come from within, and they defile a person.” (Mark 7:21) In one statement, Jesus identifies the worst sicknesses of our world. His diagnosis? These are diseases of the heart, our heart. He echoes Old Testament passages like, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9) and “Surely there is not a righteous man on earth who does good and never sins.” (Ecclesiastes 7:20) This cannot be the right diagnosis for what ails this world, can it? Isn’t everyone “basically a good person?” Jesus didn’t believe so.
“…a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.’ “ (Mark 10:17-18) This may sound cutting, but Jesus knows people who deny their sickness aren’t open to healing. He tells us, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32) Jesus could spare our feelings and say we’re just fine, but he loves us too much to let us suffer; he lovingly points out the source of our problems and points us to a merciful God for treatment. In Ezekiel, God promises, “And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.” (36:26)
When Jesus diagnoses us with a wicked heart, we shouldn’t be offended, but in awe of God’s loving patience towards His rebellious children. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ…” (Ephesians 2:4-5) Shall we go on pretending? Or admit we’re sick and let the good Physician do his work?