I’m a big baby when it comes to splinters. The absolute worst of them are ones you can’t reach yourself, because then you have to trust someone else with the tweezers or the sterilized needle.
Oh, I’m as pathetic as they come, squirming and flinching and moaning even before the tweezers come in contact with my skin. And although the grown-up me knows better—knows that the pain will not just go away—the childish me almost always reasons that maybe if I wait awhile, the wretched affliction will disappear on its own. Eventually, the nagging pain gets the better of me, and I approach the medicine cabinet with great dread over the inevitable! Silly, huh?!!
Sin is a lot like that splinter. Can I transparently share with you that sometimes I don’t want to deal with sin, either? Sin inflicts injury when it enters our lives (even when it brings pleasure for a season), and it sure hurts to deal with getting it back out. But deal with it we must; because sin separates us from our Father. The pain it threatens to bring, left within us though, is far greater than the process to be cleansed from it. When the mirror of God’s Word shows us the huge wound that sin has inflicted, and the ugly thing now embedded in our flesh, we often shrink back and resist as our Father pulls us close to Him to do the work of removing it. Hard as it may be to believe, the process of becoming rid of it really is the lesser of two ouches!
Sure, we can leave a splinter inside our finger or toe, and eventually the wound will close and we’re left with a foreign object pressing against tender tissue. It may even become infected, and an even bigger wound might have to be made to repair the damage from what we left un-dealt with. We might even get blood poisoning as the injury festers. All that from a tiny, jagged, germy sliver of wood or glass or metal. Why do we dread its removal so?
Sin, left un-dealt with, leaves us spiritually and even physically/mentally with infected wounds. It can sure make being around us difficult for those who must put up with our contrariness, whining, complaining, and unkindness. Also, the longer we put off confessing and forsaking sin, the more painful it becomes; we begin, as Adam and Eve did in the garden, to avoid being in God’s presence where He might see the “bare truth” about our condition! Sins kept hidden (as if God doesn’t already know) may even leave us later on with some permanent scars to remind us of the penalty of holding on to them. I promise you, nothing good can come from just leaving sin to do its damage in your life!
When you come humbly before the Father, or seek counsel with your pastor or a trusted, mature believer, it’s very possible that you’re not going to like the truth that is revealed to you—but grit your teeth and take it anyway! The Holy Spirit will often reveal areas of our lives where we leave ourselves open to certain temptations and difficulties. If God should send a messenger your way with revelation about what you need to change in your life, don’t get angry or defensive or puffed up! Don’t offer up lame excuses for your wrong behavior; and don’t become offended at or hurt with someone who cares enough about you to share a word of truth from the Lord. It may involve forgiving someone else, or putting some things or people out of your life which steer you toward the tendency to sin. When the truth is revealed to you, repent to your Father for those areas in your life…and if you ask Him to help you strengthen the weakened borders in your life, He will!
Isn’t it something how, almost immediately after a splinter is removed, the pain begins to subside and the wound to heal? It’s as if something a hundred times bigger is taken away, and we sigh in relief as the splinter—and the process to remove it—are behind us. If you will trust Father God, He is faithful and just and HE WILL forgive your sin. He will hold you tenderly as He cleanses your wounds, removes what has injured you, and He will not betray your trust! Take your wounded spirit to Him today. Just as surely as joy comes in the morning after a night of weeping, healing will come when we surrender ourselves to His perfect will. Any time He has to do something in our lives that hurts momentarily, we can rest assured that He is working to our eventual good.
“The kind of sorrow God wants makes people change their hearts and lives. This leads to salvation, and you cannot be sorry for that. But the kind of sorrow the world has brings death.” – 2 Corinthians 7:10 (NCV)