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Beware of growing sin

Tales from the front pew

Have you ever had the experience of something you thought was going to be a little thing becoming a big thing instead? It happened to me last week.

It all began with a toothache in one of my bottom molars. It wasn’t too bad at first, but in a short time it went from mild discomfort to nagging pain.

“It’s probably just a cavity,” I told my husband Bob. “I hope I can get an appointment without having to wait too long.”

Fortunately, I located a (new-to-me) dentist who was kind enough to squeeze me in the same day I called.

Delighted — if one can use the word “delight” in regard to dental work — I walked into the waiting room, went to the front desk and filled out the obligatory 45 pages of new patient paperwork. After a few minutes, a cheerful dental hygienist ushered me back into an exam room.

“Hi, Kim,” she said with a smile. (Ever notice what great teeth dental hygienists have?). “Just have a seat in the chair, and I’ll be right with you.”

There followed a round of x-rays; a kind I’d never had before that involved standing in front of a machine that rotated around my head, as well as the sort I was used to, where the hygienist inserted a piece of cardboard-type material the size of a shuttlebus between my teeth and gums and said “bite down” at various intervals.

Once the x-rays were through, she told me “Dr. Drill” (not his real name) would be with me shortly.

“Great!” I replied, happy that an end to my tooth discomfort was in sight.

I’d no doubt get a filling and be on my merry way. Or so I thought.

A few minutes later Dr. Drill walked in, shaking his head. Note: when a dentist looks at you and shakes his head it’s almost never good news.

“Well, Kim,” he said after a quick introduction, “there are many problems with your mouth.” Half the people I know could have told him that. “You need several fillings, at least two crowns, and, most immediately, a root canal.”

“Really, all that?” I asked, flabbergasted. “I just thought I needed a cavity filled. In fact, it doesn’t even hurt that much.”

“I’m not referring to the aching tooth,” he said. “In fact, the x-rays don’t show a problem with that tooth at all. It’s one of your upper molars that’s in bad shape.”

“Okay, I’ll have the root canal, but what about the other tooth? You know, the reason I came here in the first place?”

“Don’t worry about it,” he said. “You’re probably just grinding your teeth.”

“What can I do about the pain?”

“Stop grinding your teeth. Also, I’ll file down the troublesome tooth a bit, which should take care of the discomfort. Now … open wide.”

Yep, what I assumed would be no big deal became pretty sizable in the course of 30 minutes.

Sin is a lot like that.

If we’re not careful, one little lie, one small indiscretion, one tiny inappropriate thought can turn into a lifetime of regret.

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