A week after one of the operations I had at the Cincinnati Eye Institute I started seeing gold circles as thin as thread right in front of me. At first I thought I was going through some sort of spider web, although I had never seen a golden one to be sure, but I started waving my hand in front of my face trying to brush it away right in the hotel lobby. When I looked up, the girl behind the front desk was watching me over her glasses, her eyebrows trying to crawl into her hairline. She managed to put on her professional face then and check us out.
Even now I sometimes see sparkling lights in dark corners, and furtive movements on the periphery of my vision. I was sitting in the assembly one Sunday when I was positive I saw rats running along the housing for the indirect lighting on the walls near the ceiling. After I had similar experiences seeing things in the blinds by my chair and out the window next to the dining table, I finally realized it was just another visual anomaly resulting from all the surgery and other treatments I have endured lately.
But the more frightening problem is the black spot—a “pressure phenomenon,” as one resident calls it. When I see it, I know the pressure is up. Some days it is bigger than others, also a bad sign. The pinprick-sized spot becomes a nail hole, or even a bolt hole. The first time I saw it, I thought it was a gnat, and I went around all day trying to shoo it away. Finally it dawned on me that this gnat was always in the same place. I bet I looked pretty funny those few hours before I figured it out.
I wish that spot would go away. On days when it does, I feel a lot better both physically and mentally. Weariness and stress seem to be the worst aggravators of the problem. It reminds me of Lady Macbeth, who succumbed to such guilt over prodding her husband to murder the king that she saw a spot of blood on her hands, and no matter how many times she wiped them, it would not come off. “Who would have thought an old man could bleed so much?” she asks during her famous speech about “the spot.”
We have a spot too—one that will not go away, no matter how many times we wipe it, no matter how many times we wash our hands before the world as Pilate did, no matter how strong the soap we use..
Nowadays, mental health experts recognize the signs of guilt and the problems it causes. Their solution is to deny the existence of sin and therefore, remove guilt altogether. Now that’s handy, isn’t it? All I need to do to avoid feeling bad about doing wrong is believe that it is right. So who gets to decide what is right? What if I don’t like your version of sins, especially if it makes your sins legal and mine illegal? Only One is qualified to decide what is right and what is wrong.
And, coincidentally, only one thing will make that guilt go away, and only one person can do it for us. In fact, He requires it of anyone who wants to follow Him. No matter how many times we tell ourselves that wrong is actually right, if we don’t let Him rid us of the spot of sin, the guilt will eat us alive just as it did that fictional Lady.
Get rid of the spot while you still can. There will come a time when the offer is rescinded.
Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself up for it, that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself glorious, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish, Eph 5:25-27.