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Tuesday, 3 November 2015



Well, it took more than a gentle wheek to get that stubborn root out of my gum. A few shots to numb the area (not so pleasant in themselves!) and then a bit of tugging. It was numb but still, I did feel it. 

When I emerged from the dentist’s office, I was less able to appreciate the beauty of the fine autumn day. From the neck up, I ached. 

What was surprising about that tooth’s root, which had lain hidden for twelve years after its upper half was broken off, was its size. The bit that was poking through and becoming infected took up half the space where a tooth formerly lived. But when it was pulled up, the resulting tear in the gum extended to its full width. It was more than a fragment, more like a third of the tooth. 

The tooth was pulled all those years ago because my dentist could not stop a recurring infection. The more he tried, the less he succeeded and he finally doomed the tooth to destruction. But the dentist at the hospital had such a struggle removing it, resulting in the breakup, that I have always thought it was save-able. It was still strong. In the right hands, the rot could have been stopped and the tooth could have been saved.

How many people have been relegated to the garbage heap, discarded as beyond salvation, only to be broken further by such judgment? Christians are called not to judge, and yet very often we can be the quickest to condemn. Condemnation of what appears beyond healing may lead to a person breaking up further, and yet underneath may live a very strong and healthy root. But once broken, that root may indeed rot.

We are called not to judge, but to love. We are called to lead others to God, who is love. When others have a living relationship with the living God, he can heal all infections and restore every life. 

When the tooth next to my poor broken one became infected as well and the same dentist condemned it to the same fate, God blessed me with a way out. A trip to an unlikely place thousands of miles away and treatment by a skilled dentist who did, in fact, save that tooth. And gave it a gold crown.

Gold. Broken people are often the ones God crowns with gold. Jesus told a story with the moral that those who have been forgiven much, love much. 

Don’t judge. Whatever issues are showing on the surface, only God knows what is underneath. Just love.

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