This is Going to Hurt

This is Going to Hurt

So Moses said, “Thus says the LORD: About midnight I will go out in the midst of Egypt, and every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die . . .” Exodus 11:4-5

When I was a kid, we had a Frankenstein lawnmower that my dad rebuilt from several old lawnmowers. We had a few mowers – my brother and I mowed lawns in the summer – but the Frankenstein mower was my favorite. It did have one significant flaw though. It didn’t have an off switch. To kill the motor, I had to touch a screwdriver to the spark plug and the engine block at the same time, shorting out the engine. Once, I accidentally touched the metal on the screwdriver, getting quite an electrical shock. It really hurt, but I had to ask myself – Am I tough enough to hang on to the spark plug until it kills the engine? I knew it was going to hurt, but still, I had to try. As it turned out, I was right about the pain.

I’d love to say that was the dumbest thing I’ve ever done, but that was trivial compared to the stupidity of my addiction. After my last relapse, I could see the signs and feel the approaching storm. I knew that if I kept diverting opioids, I’d get caught. I knew that if I got caught, I’d lose my job, career, and marriage. I knew all this was coming, but I didn’t stop. That’s the insanity of addiction.

In today’s passage, Pharaoh displayed similar pathologic behavior. He’d been through nine previous plagues. Egypt’s people, resources, crops, and livestock had all been impacted. Pharaoh knew that God carried through on his warnings. In today’s passage though, God promised the worst plague was yet to come – every firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die. Pharaoh could see the approaching destruction. He knew this was going to hurt. Still, he refused to let the Hebrews go. In the end, Pharaoh sacrificed his own son because he wouldn’t listen to God. That is insanity.

Unfortunately, many of us have been here. We know the probable consequences of our actions, but still, we press on, seeking disaster until we find it. Then, only in our misery, does our mind begin to clear – What was I thinking? That was so stupid! Everyone around us agrees, but it’s too late and the damage is done. If we want to recover, we must learn to think things through. Where will this take me? When we see that a course of action will lead us to misery, we must turn around and run the other way. Otherwise, we’ll continue grabbing the spark plug, repeatedly inflicting tremendous pain upon ourselves.

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