Saturday, May 19, 2012

Duct Tape

Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.

-- Proverbs 4:23

"Duct tape is like The Force: It has a dark side and a light side and it holds the universe together."

That's the keen observation found on the 101 Uses For Duct Tape website, which celebrates the super-strong cloth-backed tape used in millions of businesses and households. Although its origins are disputed, there's no doubt that a division of Johnson & Johnson developed a similar product in 1942, which was used throughout WWII to make quick repairs on everything from weapons to aircraft to jeeps.

The 101 Uses website claims that duct tape can also fix broken automobile fan belts, cracked windshields and split vinyl siding. It's also great for removing lint from clothing. And if you believe duct tape folklore, Peace Corps volunteers often used it as a stop-gap clothesline. But ironically, duct tape--for all its versatility--isn't recommended for use on ductwork!

It's no doubt that duct tape has been a godsend to many in emergencies calling for a quick fix of one type or another. Likewise, we can all face crisis situations in our personal lives that require immediate action. But it's important to note that our good intentions don't always translate into permanent results. For instance, a severely obese person might decide to start drinking unsweetened ice tea at lunch rather than sugary soft drinks....but he continues ordering double cheeseburgers and supersized orders of fries. Another example might be a heavy smoker with chronic chest pain who decides to start exercising to lose a few pounds. In both instances, their choices aren't necessarily bad. It's just that they were quick fixes that failed to address the real heart of the matter.

Blame it on human nature. A carefully-placed strip of duct tape will by definition "repair" a car's broken fender or a cracked pane of least for a while. But we're only fooling ourselves about the results until we open our eyes and make the hard decision to get the job done right.

The human experience reveals that good intentions and trying our best are only pseudo-solutions to crises that are bound to fail. And the all-too-predictable result is even greater spiritual brokenness that the strongest roll of duct tape can't fix. When we're plagued by internal conflicts like unresolved resentment, anger or jealousy, behavior modification will only work for so long. The permanent solution is a spiritual heart transplant.
"Who can say, 'I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin?'" asks King Solomon in Proverbs 20:9.

The good news is that Jesus--sometimes called The Great Physician--makes house calls 24 hours a day. And you never need an appointment.

"I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you," is the God-breathed promise we read in the Book of Ezekiel. "I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh." 

Even duct tape can't do that. 

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