Skin Deep


Leviticus 13 is about identifying the different types of leprous diseases, seemingly a group of things that appear and spread on the skin or on a surface. One seems to be mold, a green spot on a garment that can spread. Others are skin diseases that can heal on their own; this is not just what we think of as leprosy today.

Spiritually, we equate leprous diseases with sin.

When someone had a suspected case, they had to show it to the priest. The priest had to determine if it was more than skin deep.

What we see on the surface of someone’s life can show us what’s happening under the surface, but not always.

There were times I would go and speak to prostitutes and try to share the gospel. Because on the surface I was a woman hanging around with prostitutes, one time a man assumed I was one too. (I was wearing long sleeves and a skirt to my ankles and my head was covered with a scarf.) But he made assumptions from the surface about a sin under the surface that wasn’t there.

Other times people try hard to act righteous to cover the sin they know is inside. For instance, it’s a common phenomenon that someone is outspoken against a sin they are guilty of. It’s a human-nature way of trying to cover their guilt.

However, we also know that sin is born in a thought, and if we cling to that thought instead of rejecting it and getting rid of it, it will eventually bear itself out in action. No big outward sin just happens. It was a thought, a mulling over, until it was acted on when the opportunity arose.

Thoughts can come from outside of us. It’s not sin to have a thought that you reject.

The trouble is when that thought meets an attitude ready to accept it. Before the thought can cause all that trouble, there has to be a heart ready to accept it.

It can be pride, jealously, greed, unforgiveness, lust, selfishness. Those make great soil in your heart to grow evil thoughts into sins.

The way to avoid all that pain is to have a heart prepared to receive seeds of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

How can you do that? Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself.