The Blush Test
“Are they ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them, says the Lord. Jeremiah 6:15
Blushing is unique to humans. Did you ever think about it? Animals don’t blush; nor were they created in God’s image. Scientists have their theories about the phenomenon of blushing; but it remains a mystery to them to this day. They know blood rushes to the face; they know the central nervous system generates the adrenaline when it happens; and they also know blushing is quite involuntary. When was the last time you were able to stop a blush, or produce one on cue? Blushing is part of the human psyche and scientists are stumped. Apparently, God isn’t. He says here in Jeremiah that blushing can fade and disappear, as shame and embarrassment disappear in a person whose conscience is seared, feeling not even a pin prick from loathsome behavior. Have you lost your ability to blush, even when you are alone? If you have, you need to take inventory of who you are, what you have become, and ask why.
Blushing most often describes a reaction to something with a physical manifestation—a red face! But our souls can blush as well, especially when we are alone and not in the company of others, and we are ashamed. It is a good thing to have the conscience and the heart to blush. This is apparent when you consider the positive side of the Lord’s negative here in Jeremiah (6:15, 8:12). Loathsome conduct ought to produce shame, and the blushing of the face and of the soul. When it does not we are destined for a fall, and a place among the fallen. Your fall may not be immediate, but you can be certain it will happen in a time undisclosed to you now, when the Lord determines to bring the shameless down in punishment. There are numerous examples before our eyes, whether in a person’s life of wide notoriety, in our own social circles, or our own family. Repentance is still available now. One day the door to repentance will be closed, and the fall permanent.
Those who have lost the conscience and the heart of holiness to blush in face or in soul call those who do prudes, or Victorian or puritan, or whatever. Paul calls them imitators of God. He writes in Ephesians 5: “But among you [who imitate God] there must not be a hint of sexual immorality, or any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving…for it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. To the Corinthians he wrote: “For we have renounced secret and shameful ways. Do you quickly dismiss such prudish instruction as out of touch with where we have “evolved in the 21st century? Or is God the same, yesterday, today, and forever? Perhaps it is more likely that we have lost the imitating character of God that produces blushing in us. Is it time for you to take the blush test for your face and for your soul?
“My sins, my sins, my Savior! They take such hold on me, I am not able to look up, save only Christ to thee; In thee is all forgiveness, In thee abundant grace, My shadow and my sunshine The brightness of thy face.
(1st verse of John Monsell’s hymn, 1863)
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