I visited my cardiologist this week to follow up on the three stents he put in last month. The first thing he asked was, “How do you feel? Do you have more energy?”
I told him I felt the same as before. When he seemed surprised, I reminded him that I’d never had chest pains or shortness of breath. It was family history that led me to insist on getting my heart checked.
But the arteries in my heart had been eighty to ninety percent blocked, he said. I had to notice the difference.
But he had also put me on three new meds. Wouldn’t those cause drowsiness, I asked? He allowed that could be so.
But then he lowered the boom.
“You’re sedentary,” he said. “That’s why you didn’t notice the difference.”
I’d thought of myself as active. I walk around downtown (some). I do yard work, shovel snow. It turned out that I was an example of the topic of this week’s sermon: the universal, unlimited human capacity for self-deception.
First Samuel 15 is part of the great case study of Saul, the first king of ancient Israel. Saul was a decent guy; tall, good-looking. He had no ambitions to be king. In fact, when the Prophet Samuel anointed him, all Saul was interested in was finding his father’s lost donkeys. On the day his kingship was announced, they found him hiding among the baggage.
Saul was one of us.
At first, he deceived himself into thinking he was less than he was.
But it wasn’t long before he deceived himself into thinking he was greater than he was.
And God lowered the boom.
The good news is there is someone who looks right into our hearts, sees us just as we are, and loves us anyway.
The only one who can cure a self-deceived heart is the Great Cardiologist, Jesus Christ.