He Got Used to it
Charles Naylor, 1941
John had not been saved so very long, but he was greatly enjoying his life. Salvation to him was the sweetest thing he had ever known. He abhorred sin. When he saw sin or heard it in any form, it was very obnoxious to him. He had a keen sense of its sinfulness.
But after a while John went to work in a factory. There he was thrown into contact with men of all sorts, most of them given to profanity and obscenity. How he hated to hear such language! But hear it he must. His soul was vexed continually with it and he heartily wished himself in some other employment. But as time went on he did not seem to mind it so much, until finally he took it as a matter of course and paid little attention to it.
One day a brother said to him, "John, how do you get along working with all those profane men?"
"Oh," said John, "I've got used to it now. It doesn't bother me much any more."
Mary, John's wife, was saved in the meeting where John was saved. She, too, was very happy in the Lord, but she lived in a neighborhood where the people were much given to gossiping about each other and where about all the women discussed was each other, the scandals of the neighborhood, fashions, and worldliness of various sorts.
Mary had taken her part in this gossiping with the others before she was saved, but after she had found the Lord she abhorred it utterly. It was very trying for her to listen to it any longer. When her neighbors came in she tried to be courteous to them and to listen to them somewhat from that standpoint, but she tried to turn the conversation to spiritual things whenever she could. She soon found, however, that her neighbors did not care for such things. So little by little she ceased to speak of them. After a while she lost the keen sense of displeasure at their conversation. Little by little, without her being aware of it, she became interested in the things they talked about. After a while she began to enjoy hearing the things of which they talked. She was like John. Sin was not to her as it had been. She had grown used to it.
But since John and Mary had become used to sin, were they the same as before? In getting used to these things, had they lost anything themselves? Yes, they had lost something very real, something very vital to their souls. They did not have the same relish for the Christian meetings that they formerly had. They did not have the same deep, abiding love for the church as individuals. They could see faults and shortcomings, that they had not seen before in their brethren and sisters. They still prayed and testified in the prayer meetings. They still attended and enjoyed the preaching services, but there was not quite the same relish for the things of the Spirit. Their prayers were not so earnest as before. They were not so zealous for the salvation of the souls of the people as they had been. In getting to the place where sin was less sinful to them and less obnoxious to them--they had come to where righteousness did not mean so much to them. In getting hardened to the sin about them, they had also become hardened to righteousness.
Our love of righteousness and spiritual things, is in direct proportion to our hatred for evil. Whenever we get used to evil so that it means little to us--then righteousness also comes to mean less than it did to us. When the great gulf between sin and righteousness becomes filled up with indifference, we almost lose sight of it. We need to be careful that we do not lose our sense of the sinfulness of sin.
It is natural for us to become used to whatever is around us. There is an adaptability to human nature through which we adjust ourselves to existing circumstances and conditions. If we are not careful, this natural adaptability will take the edge off our sense of the sinfulness of sin--and as surely as that sense is blunted, something very vital to our spiritual prosperity has been lost.
Lot lived in Sodom and remained a righteous man, but he did so only because he kept his soul in an attitude toward God where he was continually vexed by the deeds of the unrighteous. He never lost his sense of the sinfulness of sin, and that was the one thing that protected him among the evil people with whom he was surrounded.
The closer we live to God, the more we will hate evil. The truly spiritual person can never find pleasure in any form of sin, no matter who it is that is guilty of the sin. God never gets used to sin. If we retain our godlikeness, we can never become used to it. Therefore, if we begin to feel less concerned about the wickedness of those around us, if we realize we are becoming indifferent to it, if we can hear the name of God taken in vain or hear obscene stories and not have our soul roused in indignation against them--then we should be warned that we are drifting away from that high plane of spirituality on which it is our privilege and duty to live.
There is also another side to this question. People come to realize that they are not as spiritual as they once were. They realize that they are not living so close to God as they did in the past. Perhaps they feel it keenly at first and make efforts to recover what they have lost; but not making earnest enough efforts or not being diligent enough, they do not recover the lost ground. They go on realizing they are less spiritual than they should be, and if they continue in this condition they will shortly get used to it. They will have a realization of it perhaps when they compare themselves with what they were; but there comes a sort of indifference, a sort of adjusting oneself to the conditions--and after a while they are very hard to move to any attempt to regain their lost spirituality.
They have become used to being unspiritual. They are not just altogether satisfied with it, but they would rather be as they are, than to make an effort to be more spiritual. So they drift along. Oh, of course, they would like to be more spiritual like their brethren, but they have become used to being as they now are, and as they are doing pretty well, why bother about things? To be sure, they have lost their former zeal, but they have got used to being without it. They used to feel very keenly when they omitted spiritual duties, but now they have become used to omitting them and it does not bother them so much.
We can get into a place where it is just natural for us to love righteousness and to hate iniquity, to desire to do all we can for God and not hold back from effort. We can get used to service and sacrifice, and this we must do if we are to prosper in our souls as God designs that we should prosper. But woe unto us, if we sacrifice those qualities of righteousness in the soul, and get used to sin.