Hard to Swallow

Hard to Swallow

Suffering from what he describes as “an uncontrollable urge to consume knives”, a police officer in India endured five-hours of surgery to remove forty knives which he had swallowed over a period of several months (Log Cabin Democrat, Aug. 23, 2016). Then, in classic understated fashion, Jessica Durando reports that the patient “sought medical care after having stomach pain and little appetite” (via Reuters).

This story is hard to swallow (pun intended). Why would anyone take into their body something so obviously destructive to their physical well-being? But, then again, isn’t that exactly what people do every day in various habits and addictions which have become their “uncontrollable urge”? From pornography to cigarette smoking to over-eating at the dinner table, we are a nation of “knife-swallowers.” The difference is that our questionable behavior does not carry expectations of such immediate negative consequence. Add to that the fact that so many around us are engaged in similar negative habits and addictions, and we are lulled into a sense of complacency. But, who swallows knives? If this were a wide-spread phenomenon, it would rank among society’s deepest concerns. As it is, we are shocked—perhaps, even disgusted at such outrageous behavior—but we soon move on with our lives.

However, don’t move on just yet because this story provides a much-needed spiritual application. I know it is not always easy to admit but if you were laid bare before God, would he say that you allow potentially destructive philosophies and attitudes into your heart? If so, then, is this not a form of spiritual “knife-swallowing”? Sadly, as a society, we have largely forgotten the vital connection between what goes into the mind and what is expressed in the life. Solomon admonishes us, saying, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Prov. 4:23). Good or bad, our lives are the extended result of what we allow into our minds. Jesus explains the presence of wickedness in our lives, saying that “the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders” (Matt. 15:18-19). We are often our own worst enemy, allowing Satan open-access to our minds without censor, constraint, or discernment. Much to be preferred is the attitude of David who prayed, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my Redeemer” (Ps. 19:14).

Glen Elliott


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