I know how to ruin a perfectly good weekend. I just bring up taking our kids to the dentist. That’s all it takes. Whatever joy that was filling the space of our happy, home-full of children departs.
One moment, we delight in the smile of a two-year-old laughing at his own jumping and clapping. We feel like good parents, strong parents, parents taking care of their children.
But thinking about the dentist changes everything. Normally we love dentists. They are the fixers. But taking our kids in for an annual exam feels like putting them through a boot-camp hygiene inspection. The inner-secrets of our parenting will be revealed in a glorious light shining down upon their candy-gobbling grills. I would love to say my children only eat food that’s good for their body and teeth. But unfortunately, the organic health-food that was supposed to keep the dentist away wrecked the world instead.
So now my kids eat junk. I’m blaming Eve. We’ll try to do better. Starting tomorrow.
The dentist is like The Law, reflecting back upon us the reality of our misdeeds. You can’t hide forever. That sensitivity isn’t going to miraculously heal itself. You’re going to have to go in.
How we view police officers also depends on our circumstance. We rally around police for their heroism. They are the enforcers. We applaud their bravery and mourn their loss when killed in the line of duty. We teach our children to seek them out, and in times of trouble, we want them close.
But things change when they show up unexpectedly. The heart skips a beat as you hit the brakes. The head turns, looking for a place to hide contraband. When they arrive on a scene, regardless of our innocence, it feels like they are out to get us.
Like the dentist, we know that Christians should be equipped to help fix some of our problems. And like the police, we know that Christians have a special authority (grounded in the truth of the message of Jesus Christ). We are happy to find them in church, where we expect them, singing, praising and giving glory to God.
But sometimes it feels like Christians are out to get us, too. Things change when they show up unexpectedly, flashing the badge worn by morality police, pleased to play the role of enforcer but sometimes lacking the transformative power of a fixer.
Why do we turn our faces from dentists, police, and Christians? Because they all have the authority to inform us when we have broken the law:
- the Dental Law
- the Statutory Law
- the Moral Law
But of these three, the Christian gives the most offense. No one likes to be told they’re a sinner—by another sinner. But that’s the way it must be:
“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (NIV, Rom. 3:23).
“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8).
The dentist, the police officer, and the Christian all play a role in reminding us not to stray from the path.
And when we find ourselves in their presence, we shouldn’t turn our face.
How do you react when convicted of sin or of breaking the law? In what ways can you respect the accountability these people provide?
Photo Credit: Wavebreakmedia