When I was a kid, I hated splinters. Not that I enjoy them now, but I really hated them then. Not just because of the pain splinters caused when they lodged themselves in my fingers, but because of what came after that. I would have to go to my mom, get the prognosis on my condition and hear the recommendations for treatment. The best case scenario was that mere tweezers could remove the tiny invader. The worst case, of course, was when surgery was involved: she would have to take a needle and dig the splinter out. She was amazingly good at doing that without pain, but just the sight of her approaching my finger, needle in hand, caused me great anguish.
One time, one of my friends casually commented that if you left a splinter in place, your body would expel it on its own. When you’re eight years old, you know that children your age are the best source for medical advice, so I tried to follow his approach the next time I got a splinter. Unfortunately, it didn’t work. The area around the splinter grew more and more inflamed, and the extraction process ended up taking more time and causing more pain than if I had dealt with the problem sooner.
Sin is like that. It’s like a splinter in our soul. When we do something wrong, there’s a voice that says, “Just leave it alone. Let it be. It will work itself out.” But it doesn’t. The longer we hide our mistakes and carry the guilt around with us, the more they fester and grow. In the Bible, in the book of Psalms, the writer says:
When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord” — and you forgave the guilt of my sin (Psalms 32:3-5).
We can’t just hide the things we’ve done wrong. We have to get them out, or they will continue to torment us. If not, our conscience will not let us rest. When we go to God, seeking His forgiveness, He is quick to give it. He wants to forgive. He knows that what we most need is to confess that sin, to get it out of our being, so that healing may take place.
James, in his letter, writes: “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8). Go to Him, and show Him the splinter, confess to Him the sin that is weighing you down. He wants to ease your burden.
Grace and peace,