A human corpse, used in horror films to frighten the heart, depicted in literature to bring distaste, is a taboo to the sensitiveness of the human heart. With sunken eyes that stare frightened into the unknown and a gagging stench of decaying flesh, the stiff lifeless form reminds us of what once held the soul. All of this makes up this thing which defiles the nature of the human heart.
But what I want to see here is not the corpse itself, but the distaste and withdrawing fear that naturally births in our hearts when we are newly confronted with death. For some it’s debilitating, for others a mere prick of the heart. But for all it is something that, after time, we grow a “thick skin” or “hard shell.” We become tough, callused, pressing on accepting this fact of life as normal.
So where does this physical reaction integrate itself into our spiritual life? The Apostle Paul said in Romans 6:11 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our lord.” Here (and in the rest of chapter 6) he is calling us to die to the old man, the man of sin, selfishness, and pride. That he is to be crucified and cast away in order for us to blossom in newness of life. In the same way that we feel defiled by the human corpse, we are likewise to turn in distaste at the sight of the corpse of our sinful nature. For we have tasted of the sweetness of our new life in Christ. And now, to be confronted by the stench of our sinful flesh is to stand revolting in our eyes.
But where do we stand here? For, I know for myself that too often I try to cover the gagging stench of my sinful flesh with spices, thinking that in some way it can be made more tolerable; when, in reality, it needs to be buried with Christ, left at the foot of the cross. That we would turn in disgust at what once drove us to sin, to press on in the love that motivates us to holiness. Then the beauty of a life sacrificed to God might be made a reality, not an ideal.