For over 30 years on this fine earth my teeth had done me proud. I literally bathed them in all manner of sugary goodness but they would not bend, break or snap. I followed up candy floss with full fat carbonated drinks morning, noon and night, but my faithful nashers remained solid.
Until this month.
This month my teeth gave up. They let me down, and in one fell swoop I have eclipsed most other people my age by being the proud owner of three brand new fillings.
The dentist kindly informed me that decay is a childhood disease and asked if I had a sweet tooth. The annoying thing is he’s a really nice bloke, and there’s nothing worse than being politely told off by someone you actually like. I then had two weeks to wait before my first filling, and I was bricking it. I had no point of reference, nothing to compare it to, but I had to face the consequences of my folly. I had ignored previous warnings thinking that I was getting away with it.
When it came to the actually fillings I was pleasantly surprised to find a total lack of pain, my kindly dentist even applied a numbing gel so I wouldn’t feel the injection! In someways I wish it had hurt, because that would be a better reminder to look after my teeth more effectively in the future, a more effective incentive. Because I’ve gotta tell you, I’m worried. Worried that one day I will forget the fear of the filling, forget my new brushing regime, remembering only that the consequence was not as bad as it could have been, and I will once again return to ramming my mouth with a plethora of candy coated doom.
We know that there are consequences to our actions on this earth, but I sometimes wonder whether God did the right thing inventing grace and forgiveness, when the consequences aren’t as hard as they I imagined they would be, when the eternal price has already been paid. Am I guilty of lazy repentance? Repentance is the act of turning away – not just saying sorry but acting sorry, a word that to us is just another type of apology, but to Jesus was lived out through action. When I repent lazily I kind of turn away, but keep one eye on the thing I should be forgetting, just in case.
If only the consequences were harsher, if only grace wasn’t so all encompassing, then surely I’d learn? Surely in higher stakes games I would play more wisely?
Maybe, just maybe God knows, that sooner or later, we are all willing to gamble too much on our own strength.