As we sat at the supper table, it was The Maiden who first heard the ominous hum from the next street over. She sat at attention, caught ours, and about the moment we all heard it, she pronounced, “The mosquito truck!” Up we jumped, all three of us, to close windows and The Missus, in the voice of General Patton, sent me running to rescue items off the clothesline in the back yard.
Not that we weren’t glad to hear it and let the truck spray its cloud of poison to free us of pests. Just last week a health official from the city knocked on our door to warn us that an unconfirmed case of dengue had occurred in our quadrant. She also wormed her way in to check for possible breeding spots in standing water.
But we didn’t want the foul-smelling, mosquito-killing mist in our house and on clothing. Our defensive operation of clockwork skill comes from long experience of trucks that regularly spray the area.
Would to God our response was as prompt and energetic when the clouds of immorality and doctrinal departures waft our way.
But we prefer last-minute swerves and faith in contrary winds to avoid the inevitable visit that temptation regularly makes up our street.
After all, we persuade ourselves, it’s impossible to avoid everything. A little bit of tolerance shows we’re not radicals. And, you never know, the individuals showing bad signs may straighten up.
But when sin is seeping its way toward them, people don’t often straighten up by themselves. They succumb.
And the creeping of immorality and lessening standards doesn’t find an automatic correction, as if they were airplanes drifting off course. They slide into ditches of ruin.
Departures of doctrine and morals must be met with prompt, energetic responses. When prevention doesn’t knock them in the head, every doctor knows that the earlier the signs are treated, the better the chance of saving the soul.
Every mechanic knows that the knocking sounds in a car won’t go away by themselves. The longer it’s left, the higher the bill.
In the church, these departures are everybody’s business. The New Testament doesn’t leave it to elders or preachers. The order is for every saint, “you who are spiritual” (Galatians 6:1 NET). Here, “spiritual” is a synonym for “Christian.”
It’s everybody’s business because departures of doctrine and morals are never restricted to a single person. They spread. They cause direct hits and collateral damage.
The old saw that we’re either part of the solution or part of the problem applies here.
So next time you hear the faraway hum of the mosquito truck, jump up and run for the windows.