How Can They Do That?

Have you ever watched or read a news story about someone doing something terrible to someone else and asked yourself the question, “How could they do that?” Have you ever wondered how someone could be so cruel or so uncaring or even so “evil”? You know how in your life your conscience pricks you when you even think of doing something wrong, and often is helpful in keeping you from doing it? In 1 Timothy 4 Paul provides at least a partial answer to how evil is accomplished in the lives of some. In this chapter Paul exhorts Timothy to preach the gospel and to be a good servant of Jesus. Paul talks about those who have walked away from the true faith of Christ. Here is what he writes: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, It is that last phrase that I’m focusing on this morning; the idea of having a conscience that is seared with a hot iron. In the physical world, a hot iron can destroy the nerve endings, rendering something past feeling. Physicians sometime use this idea to keep nerves from sending painful impulses to the brain. This is a productive use of the “hot iron” but that’s not what Paul has in mind.

What Paul has in mind is a description of those who no longer can receive the truth and who no longer have that “conscience” that reminds them of right and wrong. I think this phrase describes people who have behavior and attitudes that are just so out of whack with civility and decency. But it also describes those who have walked away from God in attitude and to who rational arguments about spiritual things no longer resonate or bring a response…their “receptors” have been seared and damaged. I’m thankful, and I hope you are too, for the Holy Spirit who convicts us of sin. I pray that your conscience never gets “seared”. If you feel like it has been seared, please repent and receive God’s forgiveness. I don’t think it is ever too late to have a conscience restored.

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