Devotional - Health topics

Sugarcoated Sin

Sunday, January 17, 2021

He [Moses] chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. Heb. 11:25, NIV.

I’ll never forget the first time we flew into the poverty-stricken village of Ocoroni, Mexico, to hold a dental clinic. The minute we touched down on that tiny 1,500-foot dirt landing strip more than 100 children ran to the plane, hoping for handouts. When they smiled up at us, my heart sank. Many of them had their front teeth rotted off to the gums because of the habit of sucking on sugarcane.

The children suffered from ignorance and poverty. Sugarcane made them feel good. But they had no one to tell them it was a deceptive pleasure that would end up destroying their teeth, causing them incredible pain and eventual loss.

We could do little with those who flocked to our open shed where we set up our dental clinic but pull teeth. One woman kept trying to move ahead in the line. Through an interpreter we learned that because of the pain she was suffering she had walked 30 miles (50 kilometers) to get to the clinic, and would have to go back home that day. I pulled 15 of her teeth, each one so rotted down to the gums that I hardly had anything to get a grip on. If only these people had realized the hidden dangers of sugarcane!

Then I thought about the children in my country whose front teeth had begun to rot. Not from sugarcane, but from apple juice, soft drinks, and soda pop given in a bottle from the time they were tiny babies. Some parents didn’t know how dangerous it was to allow a child to suck on juice or milk and fall asleep with their teeth literally “sugarcoated.” Others, not wanting to put up with a fuss at bedtime if they removed the juice-filled bottle, allowed their innocent children the pleasure that would later result in damaged teeth.

It made me think about how much sin is like sugarcane or the sugar-sweet liquid in a bottle. It tastes good at the time, but without realizing it, we are being destroyed. The pleasures of sin, even for a short time, can have long-lasting and painful consequences.

Lord, open my eyes to the hidden dangers of “sugarcoated” sin.

Used by permission of Health Ministries, North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists.