"Our Universal Illness"
October 23, 2012
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
Let's see, first there was Munchausen syndrome, and now there is Munchausen by Internet (MBI).
So, have I left you in the dark? It's quite possible unless you are well-acquainted with disorders of the mind and personality. If you are in that category, that is, the unacquainted, let me explain.
Munchausen syndrome takes place when a physically healthy individual pretends to be sick, so he or she can glean attention from other people. Although there is nothing bodily wrong with such a person, they may still end up visiting a whole array of physicians and put in regular appearances at numerous hospitals.
This takes us to Munchausen by Internet. The Internet has transformed an old illness, which called for personal communication, and made it possible for a person with this syndrome to speak to hundreds and thousands of people at a time. It has allowed claims that once could have been checked out and made them virtually unverifiable for many recipients who receive an e-mail telling the story of someone who is supposedly sick. The end result is many people are making emotional and sometimes financial investments in the sad situation of someone whose situation isn't sad at all.
Dr. Marc Feldman, psychiatry professor at the University of Alabama, says he receives one or two such tragic stories every week. He is certain there are many, many more examples that go unreported. He is equally positive such cases are becoming more common.
So what does this have to do with a Daily Devotion? Simple. When it comes to salvation, there are a great many people who have Munchausen-syndrome-in-reverse. Rather than being healthy people who claim they are sick, these folks are sick with sin and claim to be perfectly healthy.
Scripture is clear: we are all sinners and worthy of condemnation. The apostle John adds: "If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us." You see, John's talking about folks who are dying of sin but who still claim they are perfectly fit and fine.
Truth is they are not fit and fine. Left to their own devices and strength, their condition is terminal. This is why they need to recognize their illness and confess, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner."
Thankfully, in His grace, the Lord has provided a Savior in the person of His Son. Through His life, His death, and His glorious resurrection, Jesus has offered Himself as the sacrifice necessary to win our forgiveness and grant spiritual health to our souls.
In Jesus, and by the Holy Spirit's guidance, John assures us, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." In short, the souls who were sick with sin are made healthy and whole.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks that You sent Your Son to save us from sin, death and Satan. Now I ask that You will use me to reach out to those sick souls who think they are healthy and don't need a Physician for their souls. This I ask in my Savior's Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries