Anaheim SDA Church
Mid-week Pastor’s Update
December 7th, 2022
"If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed" John 8:36
I had a pretty interesting phenomenon happen to me a couple weeks back, and you’ve likely had it happen to you too.
On the same Friday, there were 2 potlucks going on: one at my wife’s work for lunch, and one in the evening for an Agape feast at the Orange SDA church. So my wife decided to make a big pot of corn chowder (my mom’s recipe, which I grew-up with, and love!). She started early in the morning, so I awoke to the savory aroma of spices wafting through the house. I commented to her how good it smelled!
Then, in the usual processes of getting the kids’ breakfasts ready, and getting them off to school, I didn’t think of the smell anymore, it went out of my mind. However, when I re-entered the house some hours later, I was hit by the strong (wonderful) odor again – and I marveled: how is it that I stopped smelling it earlier, as I was getting the kids ready for school? And the same occurrence kept happening over the next day as well: staying in the house, we didn’t particularly notice it. But to go out and return? Wham! There it is again!
I looked up this phenomenon, and it is called “nose blindness”*, and it happens for both good and bad smells. It is basically the brain’s ‘filtering out’ of a constant stimulus, and it’s the reason farmers don’t constantly smell the manure they’re surrounded by, or why cultures that don’t use deodorant don’t smell their own body odor. It’s not that there’s anything physiologically wrong with the nose, it’s just that the subconscious receptors that are constantly receiving the smell (good or bad), stop bothering to send the signal to the conscious brain.
In John 8, when Jesus shocked and offended the people by telling them that they were prisoners steeped in sin, and that only He could provide freedom (vv. 34-36), they were certainly experiencing the Spiritual aspect of what I’ve been describing above. They were indignant! “We’re not slaves of anybody!” they exclaimed. And, truly, many secular people in the modern day make the same claim when we try to tell them they need a Savior.
Such is the seductive nature of sin: one can become so steeped in it, that it ceases to be perceived as a problem at all. This is why God’s law is truly such a gift to us: it lets us know what pure spiritual life (atmosphere) is like, and makes our contrast to it immediately evident. Maybe this is why some are so vehemently opposed to the Ten Commandments! Why else would something pure be argued against? Because they are an affront to people who are otherwise blind to their own sinful condition.
Conviction is not a pleasant feeling, but it is a primary job of the Holy Spirit. (See John 16:8, for example). Similarly we, who are the aroma of God (2nd Corinthians 2:14-16) are to some a delight, but to others a displeasure. We should not be ashamed of this: it was so of Jesus, and all of God’s faithful people who’ve gone in generations before.
I pray that we can be an antidote to our community’s “sin-blindness”; not in that we’re intentionally ‘stinky’, but certainly noticeable, in a distinct and unquestionable way.
Let’s let love be infused in all we do: not the world’s corrupted, superficial definition, but rather God’s thorough and complete version.
May God bless you and your families the remainder of the week and beyond.
Pr. Mark Tatum
* To read an article on the phenomenon of nose blindness, click here. https://www.healthline.com/health/nose-blindness