Sunday, April 23, 2006

Pinky fingers and other painful things...

I hurt my pinky finger today. I was cleaning the inside of my microwave, and my nail got caught in one of the vent holes...and wasn't pretty.

Ordinarily, I don't spend much time thinking about my pinky finger. As fingers go, it seems pretty insignificant. It is little, last and seems to have very little function outside of helping one look dainty whilst drinking tea or a Coke Zero or something like that.

But since ripping off part of my fingernail, its become very significant. Firstly, it hurts. Secondly, it has been a hindrance to washing dishes, shampooing my hair and typing this post. I can't tell you how many times I've had to hit the backspace button already! I never knew how important a fully functional, uninjured pinky finger was until today. Or what a detriment a throbbing, painful one could be.

Isn't that the way it is with our sin, too. First, we don't notice it until something "hurts" it. We don't notice our pride until we are slighted. We don't notice our wayward tongue until we say something hurtful or embarrassing. We don't notice our wandering heart until the Lord pricks it and begins to reign it in.

Often, too often, we have to be humbled and confronted with our sin. I tend to think the reason for that is because we spend too little time confessing known sin or asking the Lord to reveal sin and make us holy as He is holy. Who wants to go there, right? Who wants to be shown their faults and failures? It's not fun...but it is less fun to have them exposed the other way.

Like my hurt pinky finger, I have fresh wounds in that arena as well, which throb and demand my attention. My first reaction is to make it stop hurting...which often involves some sort of rationalization or justification (cough-excuses). But, that is not the God-honoring response. He exposed these things, and allowed the hurt, not for me to quickly console myself and move on...but to deal with them and heal them...get them gone.

I can put a band-aid on my pinky finger and try to forget about it. Chances are, though, that this course of action will prolong the healing and possibly lead to infection or something. But, if I clean it well every day and give it the care it needs, the pain will soon subside and it will heal more quickly. Again, the same is true of our sin. If we push painfully revealed sin issues aside, or focus our attention on how they came to light and the hurt they caused, no doubt more hurt will follow and we will have to be humbled again. But, if we can hear the voice of the Lord in the humbling and follow where He leads, we will find ourselves on paths of righteousness and see the blessing in the pain.

"For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your Souls...He restores my soul...[and] leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake." (From today's Daily Light)

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