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Sitting in a dentist’s chair is not my idea of fun. But there I was, eyes closed, mouth open, trying to ignore the scraping sound as the dental hygienist cleaned my teeth. And hoping I put enough money in the parking meter. I didn’t think a checkup and cleaning would take this long.
“I’m not going to wait five years again,” I told her during a pause in the procedure.
But that wasn’t all I needed. X-rays revealed fillings that needed to be replaced, so another appointment was scheduled.
One week later I was reclined in the dentist’s chair again. The hygienist numbed my gums before the shots (note: “shots” is plural), so I was good to go. Blessed Novocain! I didn’t feel a thing, except a little pushing and shoving. The only thing I was worried about was whether I plunked enough coins in the parking meter. I’d thought an hour and a half would be plenty.
I left the office with new fillings on the top and bottom back left teeth—and an appointment to do the other side. Six days later, I put enough money in the meter for two hours, thinking this time should be a breeze. I mean, whoever invented Novocain should be canonized.
But it wasn’t a breeze. It wasn’t bad, understand, but I’m a wimp when it comes to pain. “I can do this,” I told myself as I winced every time a little jolt shot through my mouth.
“I have to show you something,” the dentist said when the ordeal was over. “See that?” He pointed to a photo on the computer screen. “There was some infection under that tooth. I’m afraid now that it’s filled, the infection will be sealed up, with no place to drain. If that tooth gets abscessed, I’ll have to do a root canal.”
Great. The last root canal I had, I took Valium an hour before the procedure.
“What will be, will be,” I thought as I left, glad that I escaped without another appointment card.
That was 10 days ago. At the time I was beginning a five-day course of antibiotics for lingering head congestion, so the drugs probably kept any infection under my tooth at bay. But now . . . maybe it’s just my fear making me think my gums are itchy and my jaw is starting to hurt, and my head . . . okay, so I’m a bit of a hypochondriac.
Unfortunately, I tend to be the same way when it comes to spiritual matters. I don’t think I sin. But I do. I tend to be judgmental and I struggle with pride. I don’t like to admit I’m not the perfect Christian I want to be, that I want everybody else to think I am.
I shouldn’t avoid spiritual checkups. As with the decay in my teeth, unconfessed sin can cause a lot of problems that could have been avoided if dealt with as soon as it shows up.
All it takes is a little confession. God will do the cleaning. And you won’t feel a thing. Except relief.
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Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! Amen. (Psalm 139:23-24)
Special-Tea: Read 1 John 1:5–10