Self-infliction is cruel, heartbreaking, sadistic, and ultimately, not as foreign to you and me as we would like to claim.
There are few things as tragic and disturbing as the practice of an individual causing pain to their own body. That is not to say that hurting someone else should be socially acceptable, but the notion of causing pain and/or killing oneself is incredibly depraved. Where does this sinister act come from? It is hard to say. For some it is out of regret, depression, loneliness, and many other big words that only a trained psychiatrist could name off at random. Yet for many cases, self-infliction comes from a sheer lack of self-preservation. “In which way?” you ask. Let’s look into it, shall we.
In the book of Amos, we see that the nation of Israel as a whole was once again falling into the trap of closing their ears when it came to God’s word. Everyone lived according to their own wants and desires, and let God’s word rot in the corner (in a manner of speaking). So, as God always did, He sent out a prophet (Amos, in case you were wondering) to warn the nation to repent and turn their lives back to Him. Otherwise, according to Amos’ warning, a host of terrible events would follow for the nation, including a terrible famine. But this famine is not going to follow the normal famine symptoms as we understand them. We find this in Amos 8:11, “’Behold, days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘When I will send a famine on the land, Not a famine for bread or a thirst for water, But rather for hearing the words of the Lord.”’
Have you caught onto my connection to the modern world yet? Well, what we can distinguish from this text and from our own lives is that each and every one of us tends to commit this heinous crime of self-infliction each and every year. How many times have you tried to take on the task of being an avid Bible reader? Yet work, chores, sports, school functions, family time, and 3 episodes of The Office later, and you still have not been able to open the priceless Sword of Truth (I am pointing in the mirror here, folks). We, according to the words of Amos, are putting ourselves in the midst of a deadly famine. We are depraving ourselves from the gift of life. And while it was a means of punishment for the nation of Israel, we are willingly dwelling in this place of famine, with no kicking or screaming required. How do we break this tragic mold? It is no easy thing, breaking bad habits never is. But we can try to make steps in the right direction, for starters. We can find times such as breakfast, lunch break, before we go to bed, or even make a pact with ourselves not to partake in any evening leisure activities until we have had a good dose of God’s Word. Like I said, we may have been putting ourselves through this famine for so long that we have grown quite comfortable with it. But with some serious effort and discipline, we can stop this sadistic form of self-torture.
P.S. I recently discovered The 1975’s song “Robbers”, and I think we might be new friends!