Hearing The Master’s Voice

Hearing The Master’s Voice

I brush my teeth and floss two times a day. I like keeping my teeth clean. However, I’m really, really cheap, so I ran a decade-long stretch without going to the dentist.

A few years ago, I finally ended the run. The dentist found no cavities, just as I predicted, but he did find enough plaque to fill a small swimming pool. With a wire plaque-picking utensil, he pulled and yanked in places I didn’t know existed. After twenty minutes of scraping and maneuvering, he put down his instrument and said in a sweat, “Got it.”

The dental assistant put the water hose in my mouth, told me to gargle and spit, and then said, “You’re done.” The first thing I did was run my tongue along the back of my teeth. They feel so jagged, I thought. Ten years of plaque built up along the inside base of my teeth had created one continuous smooth ridge, but the dentist had exposed the natural line of my teeth.

I’ve been going back over the teachings of Jesus recently. As I grew up in pseudo-Christian culture, the teachings of Jesus had gradually lost their grit and ability to offend me. They had recessed into the amalgam of Scripture, becoming safe, easy, and explainable. I grew accustomed to staring at teaching, praying, and going about my day. Jesus had no edge to him.

Then I began struggling to get rid of the gorilla, and I began to hear the harshness of Jesus’ command to forgive. As I railed against it, I began to hear the fresh voice of Jesus again. I began to understand why people walked away from his presence angry and disbelieving.

“The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark1:15). I never really felt the brunt of that until I had something I really didn’t want to repent of.


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