Thursday, May 5, 2011

Living with the pain

While working on a project in an art class, a sharp sting on my finger made me stop in my tracks. I knew instantly that a sliver just broke through the skin on my finger. It was just a tiny piece of wood, barely visible, but boy did it hurt! I tried to remove it, hoping I’d get the entire piece out but no luck. There was a small part of it still under my skin, and I couldn’t do anything about it until I would be home later in the day. Interestingly, I was able to proceed with my project, and I actually forgot about it. Later in the day, I brushed my hand against my jeans, and the pain from the sliver came back. I was quickly reminded that something wasn’t right. That’s how sin is in our lives. It’s so apparent to me when I am not in sync with God. Instantly, the Holy Spirit elbows me and lets me know that I stepped out of line. The conviction, while gentle, is painful. It’s also interesting to see how I can forget about my sin and just go about my business as if nothing is amiss. But the Holy Spirit doesn’t forget. He nudges me just enough to make me feel a sense of discomfort, and then I have to make a decision. I can keep ignoring him, or I can make things right. Sin is just like the sliver. We can get some of it out of our lives, but then again, there can be pieces that are stuck inside, hidden from our view and the view of others. But, oh, how we can feel that sin! The pain of our sin can keep us stuck, or it can set us free. If we take our sin to the cross, we find freedom. If we keep it buried and choose to ignore it, that sin can fester and grow into something that could be very harmful to us.

Jesus urges us to come to the cross with our sin. That is where he took the burden of our sins upon himself. I used a needle to remove the buried piece of the sliver in my finger. It hurt as I dug it out. The needle was the right tool I needed to pull the sliver out. Spiritually, Jesus is the perfect tool needed to make us right with God. He promises that He will remove the sin from our lives and bring us to a place of healing and peace.

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty! When I refused to confess my sin, my body wasted away, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat. Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone. Psalm 32.

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