Before he was wheeled into the operating theatre, William King joked with nursing staff at a hospital in Tampa Florida, urging them to be sure they knew which of his feet they were going to amputate. Sadly, the surgeon made a catastrophic mistake. When the fifty-one year old awoke from the anaesthetic he found, to his horror that he still had his gangrenous right foot, but was missing his healthy left one. Eventually he had to have both legs removed and was awarded $250,000 in compensation.
Incredibly, the hospital has now introduced a policy of writing with thick pen the word “No” on patient’s limbs which are not to be amputated.
It is staggering just how often incidents like this occur! There have been several examples over the years which have reached the notice of the press.
The Bible teaches that we all make mistakes from time to time but goes on to state that the greatest mistake of all is to think that God can be ignored and disobeyed without serious consequences. One of the best known verses of the Bible is Galatians ch 6 v 7, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will reap”. From Sunday School days many will remember this verse and it can be applied not just to individuals, but society in general. The simple rule is that individuals, societies and nations cannot ignore God and expect things to go well; indeed it is a principle which can be applied to the world itself.
Day by day we see our nation lurch from one crisis to another, whether it is more knife crime, more economic problems or some other issue, but I often wonder how many people understand the real reason behind all these problems. Let me give just one example – the issue of knife crime. The Government response is to limit the selling of knives to teenagers, but is this really the answer? The truth is that not so long ago anyone who became a boy scout would have been issued with a knife as part of their kit and scouts didn’t go around stabbing each other! Clearly something else has happened. No, the real reason for knife crime is because something has changed deep inside the heart of people – it was a change that at first was gradual but now is rapidly speeding up and the same change lies behind many of the other social ills such as the break up of families, divorce, adultery and so on. The biggest mistake our nation has made is to believe we could ignore the laws of God and not suffer serious consequences.
When I watch the news and see the state of the nation, the sad fact is that collectively this is what we have chosen. Generally speaking people have chosen not to go to Church. Their children see that their parents don’t take spiritual things seriously and so in turn when they have children of their own, no moral teaching is passed on – and so it gets worse with every generation. On the other hand, can you imagine how different our nation would be today if children saw their parents attend Church, if they saw their parents regularly read the Bible and pray? Can you imagine the powerful influence it would have upon their hearts so that they would know right from wrong and good from bad?
Young people (and old ones!) shouldn’t need a policeman on every corner to make sure they behave themselves – they should know in their heart right from wrong and have an active conscience so they will do the right thing and not the wrong. Remove God from family life and each succeeding generation gets more and more selfish and corrupt. Put God back in His proper place as the Head of the family unit and the reverse occurs. All this is commonsense, but now for the challenging part: - Do your children see you read the Bible? Do your children see you pray? Do they see you go to Church? Do you encourage them to go to Sunday school? Many, many, many people across our nation choose not to pray, read the Bible or attend Church and they are making the biggest mistake the Bible says it is possible to make. They believe they can ignore God and not suffer consequences. The problems our country is facing is caused by our rejection of God. Only if we put God back in His proper place will our nation and society be healed.