“For a man’s ways are in full view of the LORD, and he examines all his paths (Proverbs 5:21).”
Some people never learn. The fictional Gregory House, the focus of a TV drama, has been through a living hell ever since the problems with his bad leg were misdiagnosed and mishandled by other doctors. Now he is always in pain and has to walk with a cane.
On top of it all, House is a congenital jerk. He is condescending, irascible, and sarcastic. The only thing that allows him to keep his job is that he is the best diagnostician around.
House is also a substance abuser. He at one point was addicted to the vicodin he took to alleviate his pain.
All of these problems leads to House checking into a psychiatric facility. His medical license is suspended. At first, he resists treatment, as is his nature. However, House eventually comes around, and when his psychiatrist determines that House can feel human emotions and is normal, he releases House and writes a letter giving him his medical license back.
House now has moments of humanity. In the most recent episode, he goes out with some colleagues, who his best friend is actually paying to spend time with him. Surprisingly, the men have a good time, and House tells his buddy that he realizes that he can be friends with them. This is a real breakthrough for the good doctor because he has few if any friends. Up until now, he has pushed them away.
Although things seem to be looking up for House, he has a brewing (pun intended) problem. He is obviously becoming an alcoholic. In the last airing, the show opens with him waking up in a neighbor’s house sleeping off a night of boozing, and closes with him pouring some alchohol into a cup at his desk. Some people never learn.
This should come as no surprise, though. The first man ever born on this planet had a thick skull, too. Cain was told by God what was expected of him, but chose to do things his way. When God rejected His program, Cain went into a fit of rage, killed his brother (who HAD gotten with the program) and became a marked man for life Genesis 4:1-16).
I can relate to the story of Cain and Abel. When Cain began sulking, God’s response was: “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast. If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:6,7).” I can relate because I have had students like Cain. They break the rules, and when they are called on it, they either go into a rage or become moody.
I suppose we are all like that sometimes. There are occasions when we don’t think the rules apply to us. Then when God calls us on it and disciplines us, we rage at Him or sulk.
There’s an old saying: “Sow a thought, reap an act. Sow an act, reap a habit. Sow a habit, reap a character. Sow a character, reap an eternity.” Initial denseness toward God can lead to a causal chain with some really bad effects. We may wake up one day and discover this (Proverbs 5:11-14).
The other day my students and I had a discussion in class over some misbehavior going on there. I reviewed some good and bad actions from them over the course of the term and said,”You may think I don’t notice these things, but I do.”
God has infinite awareness. He knows what’s going on in our lives, and since He cares, He’ll do anything He can do to keep us from harming ourselves. It’s best we listen to Him early on and save ourselves a lifetime of pain. Some of us can learn.