Tim Thorockmorton: Counting the cost

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 8, 2023

I don’t know what it’s like when you stop for gas, but it’s hard for me to even look up at the screen anymore.

Every now and then you catch a glimpse of the total price you just paid at the pump for a tank of gas, and ouch! 

Most of us can remember thinking how unbelievable it was when gas prices rose to $2 a gallon. Those were the days!

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Now, any time I pay close to $3 a gallon using my Kroger card, I call my wife and we celebrate! I suppose most have just gotten used to paying more for at the pump. 

It’s easy to get used to the pain, that is until we take time to think about it! It’s the age-old peril of desensitization. A big word to be sure but a simple principle. 

According to the dictionary, Desensitization is a method to reduce or eliminate an organism’s negative reaction to a substance or stimulus. 

In psychology, desensitization (or graduated exposure therapy) is a process for mitigating the harmful effects of phobias or other disorders. 

Agoraphobics, who fear open spaces and social gatherings outside their own home, may be gradually led to increase their interaction with the outside world by putting them in situations that are uncomfortable but not panic-provoking for them. 

In other words, by exposing someone to small doses at a time you can change the way they react to a certain situation or issue. A brilliant strategy, and it still works!

New and cutting edge you say. No not really, it’s the same strategy that Satan has implemented for ages. Get people use to small doses of sin, and then they will begin to accept sin over a long period of time. Not possible you say. 

Let me ask you; are there things today that are considered acceptable that were completely unacceptable a few years ago? Sure, there are, and it’s happened without a fight because our culture has been eased into to thinking that it’s OK.

Charles Colson in his book, “Loving God,” talks about how pivotal issues are introduced to society. 

They are blasted into the realm of discussion through a crisis or tragedy, (news, movies, print media), then they become debated and discussed (books, talk shows, editorials), then they are defended, (organizations, celebrities, laws), eventually the issue that was repulsive and unacceptable is now acceptable and celebrated. 

Of course, the process takes time, but the strategy works. Look around our culture today and you can see where we are in relation to where we came from.

So, what’s one to do? Well, I’m glad you asked. Listen with me to the words of Pastor Peter…. “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer 1 Peter 4:7”, and again, ”Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  

Now what Peter is reminding us of is that we need to pay close attention to what’s happening around us so we are not led astray by the devices of Satan.

Gary Richmond, a former zookeeper in his book, “A view from the zoo”, had this to say: Raccoons go through a glandular change at about 24 months.

After that they often attack their owners. Since a 30-pound raccoon can be equal to a 100-pound dog in a scrap, I felt compelled to mention the change coming to a pet raccoon owned by a young friend of mine, Julie. She listened politely as I explained the coming danger. I’ll never forget her answer. “It will be different for me. . .” And she smiled as she added, “Bandit wouldn’t hurt me. He just wouldn’t.” 

Three months later Julie underwent plastic surgery for facial lacerations sustained when her adult raccoon attacked her for no apparent reason. Bandit was released into the wild. Sin, too, often comes dressed in an adorable guise, and as we play with it, how easy it is to say, “It will be different for me.” The results are predictable.

Listen; paying too much for gas is nothing compared to the price of sin in a person’s life. Gas may be expensive, but salvation is and always will be free!  That price was paid when Jesus died on the cross. 

Paul reminded us, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” When it comes to God’s gift of salvation, you don’t have to stand in line or pay a high price, it’s all yours because God not only counted the cost, he paid it for you!

Tim Throckmorton is the national director of Family Resource Council’s Community Impact Teams.