“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!…The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those who are in the realm of the flesh cannot please God. You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness (Romans 7:24,25; 8:6-10).”
How would you like to be able to remember every minute of every day in your life? Seems cool, right?
In a recent episode of the medical drama “House”, a patient named Nadia finds the effects aren’t what you would think. In fact, she learns having a perfect memory is not cool at all.
What Nadia does with her memories is not hip in any way. She recalls all the bad stuff. For example, in one scene, she reminds a customer at her waitress job that she had seen her before.
The customer denies it. However, Nadia persists, naming the exact date. The memory exposes the woman’s liasion with another man in front of her current one. It isn’t a happy moment.
It gets worse, though, because Nadia suddenly collapses and is taken to the hospital. It is there that House and his team meet her and begin to diagnose her problems.
While in the hospital, Nadia receives a visit from her estranged sister Elena. The reason they continue to have a broken relationship is because Nadia can’t let go of the old hurts inflicted on her by her sister. She remembers every little offense.
Even when Elena donates a kidney to her, Nadia can’t bring herself to reconcile. Oh, she tries, but the old memories pop up and she weepingly tells Elena, “I can’t do this!”.
Finally, House diagnoses Nadia’s problem. She has a genetic disorder which causes a rare form of obessive compulsiveness. Nadia’s obsession is her memories.
Dr. Chase, a member of House’ team, offers Nadia a chance to control her disorder with medicine, explaining that it could take away her memories as well. She demurs at first, noting that it is her perfect memory that makes her “special”.
Chase tells Nadia that her memory also makes her “alone”. She has a choice. Nadia can either have a wonderful recall and not be able to forgive, or she can take the medicine and have relationships.
There are a lot of things in life that offer us special experiences, but in the end cause us destruction. In Nadia’s case, it was her memories.
For us, it could be something else. It could be sex, money, power, career advancement, or even another person.
The wise man of Proverbs speaks of a man who is seduced by a married woman. She offers him what seems to be extreme pleasure, but in the end it costs him his life (Proverbs 7:6-23).
Even the law of God, a good thing, can destroy us. The apostle Paul explains:
“For when we were in the realm of the flesh, the sinful passions aroused by the law were at work in us, so that we bore fruit for death… What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet.’ But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of coveting. For apart from the law, sin was dead. Once I was alive apart from the law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death. For sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, deceived me, and through the commandment put me to death (Romans 7:5,7-11).”
That’s the problem for Christians. Sin can seek opportunity in a lot of seemingly “good” things. You know the old song: why is it wrong if it feels so right?
Nadia’s memories were a good thing, until they weren’t. Having a gift like that could have done a lot of good, but it didn’t.
There was some disorder in Nadia that made her focus on the evil. It made her unwilling to forgive and willing to love. As a result, she was alone.
We have the same kind of disorder in our sinful natures, left over from the Fall. Thus, something that seems good to us may be destructive and not conducive to living relationships (I Corinthians 10:23.23).
Like Nadia, we need to take the cure. However, it’s not an antidepressant to control OCD.
God’s antidote for the sin in our lives is His Spirit. He gives us the ability to overcome this disorder in our natures, and live a life of love.
Anything that makes us special but takes us away from God will destroy us. If we really want to be unique, we need to live according to the Spirit of God and fulfill His design for our lives.
The result will be that we will be distinguished by love and peace and other fruits of the Spirit. Then we’ll be special, and cool!