Our facilities here have a fire alarm system. It exists is to let us know if there’s a fire, so that we can exit safely. Our bodies have systems that let us know about dangerous situations, too. We have pain receptors that detect pressure, heat, and the presence of caustic chemicals that could harm us. Our nervous system is designed just so to deliver these signals as high priority messages to our brains-which process these signals as quickly as possible in a way that makes pain virtually impossible to ignore.
The system is wonderful in the way that it works-but not so wonderful when it’s sending false alarms. What is hard for me to believe is that it is even worse when it doesn’t raise any alarms at all.
Leprosy is caused by bacteria which cause the immune system to attack the nerves in your skin, beginning with your extremities. The first victim of leprosy is your ability to feel pain. You become, quite literally, desensitized. Ask a leprosy patient-this isn’t a good thing. This desensitization makes it easy for you to hurt yourself without ever knowing it. You’d never know that you stubbed your toe or that your shoes were wearing blisters into your feet-until the damage had long been done. Leprosy invites other infections and diseases into your now mangled body-which is ultimately the cause of death.
1 Timothy 4:2 describes a similar situation, a time when folks depart from the faith through the teaching of insincere liars whose consciences have been seared. They no longer can feel! No pain and no pleasure. As a result, their “insensitivity” has caused them to be agents of Satan who are actively tearing apart the church.
We need this reminder to be sensitive. We need to be sensitive to detect false teaching. We need to be sensitive to see problems in our families. We need to be sensitive to see opportunities and teachable moments when we spread the gospel. May we never lose our Christ-centered sensitivity!