I have a dumb dog. Maybe you can relate. I just
found her hiding in a corner of the back yard with a look of guilt and shame on her face. “Great – what have you gotten into this time” is the thought that races through my head as I go to investigate. Is it one of the boys’ socks that now has to be purged from your stomach? Or some plastic toy that’s been chewed to bits? Or a dead bird that’s been played with and torn apart?
No. It’s actually not that bad this time. In fact, it’s pretty harmless. It’s the remnant of a toilet paper tube that must have fallen out of the recycle bin in the back yard. Yes, she ate most of it, but I really don’t care. No need to induce vomiting, and no destruction of property involved unless you count the loss of potential recyclable material. But if she could talk, I’m sure she’d argue her form of recycling / biodegradation is more environmentally friendly. Whatever.
The beauty of this encounter is that it allowed me to reflect on my own sinfulness. Yes, you read that right – my sin. And no, my sin doesn’t include chewing up toilet paper tubes or swallowing socks (oh, that it were that mundane…..)
But I don’t want to cloud the discussion with my particular sin, because I don’t think it really matters for this discussion. In fact I think it applies to any sin that we try to hide from others, and even try to hide from God.
Do you see it yet? See yourself hiding in a dark corner hoping no one will catch you. Knowing all along it’s not good for you. Or at least knowing that your master has told you (over and over and over again….) NOT to do it. But you do it anyway. And you don’t really know why.
It, of course, is YOUR SIN. And your sin is far more destructive to you than chewing up a toilet paper tube, or even having to have your stomach purged of the sock you couldn’t keep yourself from eating.
Allow me another, albeit more disgusting, illustration. My dog also eats poop. This is, I think, a more accurate metaphor for sin. To us humans, this is a disgusting, stomach churning habit that infuriates us. How does she actually find that appealing?! But my dog keeps doing it anyway, no matter how many times I yell at her and chase her around the yard. The temptation appears too much for her to resist on her own. The only way I can stop her is to remove the source of her temptation.
Now I recognize this illustration starts to break down at this point, but I think it’s still a helpful way to see our sin as God see’s it. Completely unhealthy, destructive, and unnecessary.
Try thinking of your sin as a pile of poop in the backyard the next time you’re tempted.
And don’t be a dumb dog.