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Saturday, May 24, 2014

We Burn Anyway

Recently I had a conversation with my youngest about choices.  Noah James was asking me what the effects of making bad ones have on a person.

For a while, I hemmed and hawed around the edges. . .explaining that we actually hurt ourselves and our relationships when we make bad choices. . .and very often the people we love.

He sat there, blankly staring at me.  Clearly I hadn't hit the mark.

I tried again:

"Wrong choices (about food, telling the truth, doing the right thing, not being selfish, etc.) hurt us in ways we often don't see at first," I explained carefully.  "But, in the end, they always take something from us (health, self respect, relationships, opportunities, etc.) whether we realize it at the time or not."

Seeming to be 'getting it,' he mulled it over for a minute and announced "well, I'll just be on guard for the bad stuff and make sure it doesn't happen."

I looked at him, all boy and freckles and simplicity at seven.  I could see he believed he'd be able to keep any negative consequences at bay with mere vigilance and determination, no matter how unlikely that actually was.

So I tried a different approach.

"You know how you and I burn so easily in the sun?"

His eyebrows raised and he nodded in exasperated agreement.  "Yes, I do!" he said.  "No matter what we try!"

"Right!  We wear factor 100 sunscreen, have factor 45 protective clothing, wear hats, and stay in the shade whenever possible. . .and still we burn.  Why do you think that is?"

He thought for a moment, eyebrows furled and chin resting on his hand, and then looked up at me.  "I guess," he said slowly, "we sometimes miss spots with the sunscreen or forget the protective shirt."

 "That's true, but what else could cause us to burn?"

He looked puzzled for a moment and the seemed sheepish.  "Sometimes the sun is stronger than what we do to keep it out."

"Yes, that's very true.  But there's one thing more:  We have extremely sensitive skin.  It's not made to last long in the sun before it's damaged.  Sometimes, that damage just stings a bit.  Sometimes it hurts badly and we are miserable for days as blisters form and skin peels.  If we aren't careful, the damage can be even worse than that."

I waited for a moment, letting this image sink in.

"Sin's like that, Noah James," I continued.  "Our hearts and minds and spirits are sensitive to it, just like our skin is to the sun.  The strength of it is stronger than whatever we do to try to keep it out."

"Sometimes the damage is small, like a sting.  Sometimes it hurts deeply and causes all sorts of ugly blisters on our relationships and circumstances.  Sometimes the damage is far worse than that."

Noah James thought for a moment and then sighed.

"I guess the best thing is just to make the right choice in the first place," he mused.

Indeed, my son.  Indeed.   (if only it were that easy, though!)

1 comment:

  1. But thankfully Jesus died on th cross to take away the power of sin so even if we can't keep it out of our lives he can deal with it and loves us and chooses to remember our sins no more even if we do make those 'wrong' choices. Bless you Noah James, God will help you to make the right choices if you let him. :-)


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