Becoming Desensitized

Imagine for a moment that you woke up one morning and you noticed that your fingers felt numb.  At first you don’t think much about it, “maybe I just slept funny.” By lunchtime you are starting to get concerned because now the numbness has crept up your forearm so you decide to go see a doctor.

The doctor seems concerned and tests your response by pinching your arm, but you don’t even flinch.  He tries another spot and pinches your arm again but you don’t react.  “Did you feel that?” the doctor asks.  “No” is your reply.  At that moment do you think he’s going to say, “Congratulations! We’ve just discovered that you are an emerging super hero!  You don’t feel pain!”?  
Actually, he would be alarmed and begin to order further tests to get to the bottom of the problem.  You see, your body has a nervous system which does a lot of things and one of those things it does well is to produce pain.  Most people don’t really care for pain but many times pain protects your body from further harm.  If you didn’t feel pain you’d likely burn your hand while attempting to roast those marshmallows over the fire at your campout.  
Not only do you have a physical nervous system, you also have a spiritual nervous system which is called your conscience.  One of the things your conscience is supposed to do is help you discern good from bad by throwing up some red flags when something’s not right.  It is supposed to produce spiritual pain when your heart and mind are exposed to things that can be harmful.  How well is your conscience working when it comes to today’s entertainment choices?  Can you feel the pinch on the arm?
It is uncanny how many times I’ve heard these famous words, “it doesn’t affect me” when addressing poor entertainment choices.  It is often stated with bold confidence as if possessing a particular gift or talent which allows a person to no longer feel pain.  That’s not a good thing, it’s actually a sign of a spiritual disease which I call the infection of the unaffected.  No longer feeling the pinch, our generation is desensitized and numb.  A heart no longer discerns its own corruption.  Don’t panic, there’s a cure.
In Hebrews 5:12-14 the Bible tells us “In fact, though by now you should be teachers, you still need someone to teach you the basic truths of God’s word. You have become people who need milk instead of solid food. For everyone who lives on milk is still a baby and is inexperienced in the message of righteousness. But solid food is for mature people, whose minds are trained by practice to distinguish good from evil.”
We don’t have to remain desensitized.  Our conscience can be trained but it’s going to take some dedicated work.  That must start with going back to the basic truths of God’s word.  He didn’t neglect giving us the guidance we would need in order to remain sensitive to distinguish good from evil in today’s media.  We have simply neglected to recognize our numbness and pursue the cure.  
It’s past time to spit out the world’s pacifiers and get back on the pure milk of God’s word.  Better yet, let’s grow up and get to the point where we can tackle some solids. 

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Phillip Telfer

Phillip Telfer


Phillip Telfer has ministered to youth and families for over 20 years, sharing at camps, retreats, schools, conferences, and churches around the country. He is the director of Media Talk 101 which is a non-profit ministry dedicated to teaching media discernment in the light of following Christ. Phillip recently authored the book “Media Choices: Convictions or Compromise?” He also produced and co-directed the award-winning documentary Captivated and founded the annual Christian Worldview Film Festival and Filmmakers Guild. Phillip is passionate about family-integrated church and ministry and serves as the teaching pastor at Living Water Fellowship in Bulverde, TX. He and his wife Mary have been happily married for 26 years and have been blessed with four children and one grandchild.