Smelling our children’s breath had become a nighttime tradition. We wanted to instill good habits in our children and dental care was one of the more challenging ones. They had become accustomed to the nightly inspection and the command: “Let me smell your breath”. This was to be sure that every night they would routinely floss and brush their teeth. It is not that we did not trust them but, well, I take it back. We did not trust them! So to be sure they had obeyed we would make each one of them stand, open their mouths and we would take a ‘whiff’ for the scent of toothpaste mint. It worked most of the time.
This routine had become a bit boring but necessary to keep the dental bills down. At the end of one busy night our youngest daughter Keturah came to make her declaration of minty breath. She crept quietly down the stairs after the others had passed inspection. She then proudly lifted her night shirt to reveal her bare two year old chest and declared, ‘smell my breasts!’ I am not sure what made her believe she had anything to inspect, but she was certain we would not find anything to impugn her. She was right. She passed inspection. We never got to the tooth part.
Self breast examination has been one of the foundations of early cancer detection for decades. Though it has been marginalized by new imaging techniques of mammography, ultrasounds, CT scans and even MRI in some institutions, it is still considered an essential adjunct of personal responsibility for health care. It has even in some instances replaced the doctor even touching the patient. Oh the marvels of modern medicine and the ‘no touch’ technique!
However, nothing can replace personal responsibility. We live in an era of blame. We blame our parents, our government, our teachers, our churches and even our friends for choices we make. We have the ability but not the desire to control our own behavior when it comes to things we know to be harmful. We eat too much, drink too much and indulge in all manner of things harmful to our bodies and minds.
Self breast examination allows the small lumps to be detected early enough at a stage where the tumor can be prevented from invading the lymphatic and blood vessels. A small lump can be invasive and kill.
Small sins are equally as lethal. They invade before they are even detected.
The sins of lust, envy, jealousy, un-forgiveness and lying, seem like small lumps, however, they are lethal. In an attempt to satisfy our flesh by avoiding embarrassment, we cover our tracks with a variety of tricks. Money trails, travel documents, phone calls and any trace of our sin is hidden. Of course this deception costs. It invades our finances and our relationship with family and other friends. It affects our schooling, our job, and before long, it has metastasized to every part of our lives. We steal time, reputation and even the emotion of those whom we love.
It is time to do a self examination of our breasts. We can detect the tumor while it is still curable and before it is visible to others. That is the best chance for cure.
We have taken our faith for granted. It is this sin of presumption that allows us to sin and take God’s grace for granted. We don’t need to live holy, or so we think because after all, we are forgiven.
Ro 6:1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound?
2Co 13:5 Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?