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It is universally accepted that in the practice of medicine it is both wiser and more effective to treat the cause of a disease rather than merely the symptoms. The best doctors are those who can diagnose the cause of an illness accurately and give proper medicine or treatment for it.
Our world is not only cursed with physical illnesses, but with even more grave illnesses of the spirit. Some of these have to do with man’s daily behavior, some with his religious practices and some of them overlap in both of these areas simultaneously. In fact, some even involve medical, ethical, and spiritual matters all at once. There is a commercial message on radio that urges the smoker to buy a certain brand of toothpaste especially formulated to remove the ugly tobacco stain from one’s teeth. That is a classic case of treating the symptom. Those who quit smoking remove the cause of such ugly stains. They are the wise ones. Even wiser are those who never start. In the same class are the messages urging drunkards to let someone drive them home instead of driving themselves. The wiser and more effective course is to attack the cause — sober up and stay that way.
The liberal sociologists pretend to decry the plague of teenage sexual promiscuity which has led to venereal disease and unmarried teenage parenthood in epidemic numbers in recent years. At the same time most of these social “experts” continue to encourage the growth of these problems by their amoral and immoral philosophies. Instead of getting to the root of these problems (violation of God’s moral laws) their “solutions” are entirely symptom-oriented: Provide birth control devices and ready abortion without parental knowledge or consent and try to treat the ravages of VD with medication. Will it never dawn on them to strike at the cause of these tragedies by insisting on sexual purity?
This problem has its strictly religious applications, also. In the religious world that claims to believe in the God and Christ of the Bible, each group is a law unto itself, teaching and doing all sorts of outlandish things, from ordaining female preacher and/or bishops (as well as homosexuals) to denying the necessity of baptism for forgiveness of sins. These are merely the symptoms. The cause is a rejection of the authority of God and His Son by rejecting the Bible as the infallible, inspired Word of God. Likewise, when we as God’s people deliberately refuse to do what we know is God pleasing, this is only the symptom. The cause is far more serious (lack of love and reverence for Christ—John 12:48) and we must do our best to treat that cause.
[Note: I wrote this article for and it was published in The Edifier, weekly bulletin of Pearl Street Church of Christ, Denton, TX, November 30, 1989, of which I was editor.]
Attribution: From thescripturecache.com; Dub McClish, owner and administrator.