Sounds Kind of Gross

Story of the Day for Saturday March 3, 2012

Sounds Kind of Gross

                            As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.

                               Proverbs 26:11

 On October 26, 1991, the passengers in the McDonnell Douglas MD-11 jetliner stumbled in the inky darkness to the emergency exits. But their real troubles didn’t begin until they exited the plane. As they jumped down the emergency slides, 28 people were injured.

The jetliner didn’t crash but was sitting quietly in a darkened airport hangar in Long Beach, California. The FAA requires all new aircraft to satisfy government safety requirements — including the requirement that they must be able to evacuate all passengers within 90 seconds. McDonnell Douglas failed the test — taking 132 seconds.

As the sound of the ambulances rushing victims to the hospital died away, the airline engineers and FAA officials had time to assess the debacle.

Back to the drawing board, right? Experts would need time to determine what went wrong and find a way to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. Instead, hours later, they conducted the identical test a second time. Not surprisingly, they failed the evacuation time requirement again, but far more tragically, scores of people were again injured as they tried to bail out of the jet. One woman was permanently paralyzed from the neck down.

None of the participants in the second test were allegedly told that 28 people were injured during the first test. At the end of the day, around 50 people were injured.


Ever since we are toddlers we are warned against doing harmful things. We’re taught to look both ways before crossing the street and not to touch a hot burner.

God does the same thing. He tells us not to cross certain lines — not because he hates to see people having a good time — but because he knows that certain behaviors are harmful and can cripple joy.

One way to avoid unnecessary pain in our lives is to listen to what God says. A second way to avoid unnecessary pain in our lives is to ignore what God says, and learn from bitter experience that sin really isn’t worth the effort.

But the greatest tragedy is when we fail to learn from either God’s wisdom or bitter experience.

I’m just guessing here, but it seems that guilt leads us to repeat sinful behavior — even though we recognize the misery it causes. Guilt makes us feel we deserve to hurt.

But God has a better way. He doesn’t want us to live in guilt. Instead, he forgives and cleanses. And even more, the Bible says that God’s kindness empowers us to change our ways.


In Proverbs it says that deliberately returning to the sin that was so repugnant is like a dog that eats something really rotten, throws up, and then later goes back to eat its vomit.

Sounds kind of gross, but I think that’s the point.

                                                       (copyright by and by Marty Kaarre)