So as i ran around playing soccer with no shoes on in East Timor, little was i to know that i was about to receive over a month long of toe infections. Just this week a doctor was finally seen and he gave me some pills, so now I’m that guy. With those colourful pills.
Early this week i tripped on the footpath and got a strange splinter in my hand. and it got me to the thinking. One, that I hate physical pain when it seems over the top. And two, infections are a lot like sin when we compromise our own fear of the lord.
Take the foot infection. It started from a tiny little cut in my foot. and i didn’t think twice about it so i walked around with no shoes on through dust and dirt. Little bits of dirt probably got in there. And according to one of the leaders there, most cuts get infected because of the water that people wash their wounds in. So I’m washing this wound every night with alcohol and then band-aid ing it. and then some nights i would have to poke around in there with a needle that we “sterilised” to get all the puss out, then re-clean it, and then band-aid it. We were also walking somewhere between an hour and two hours every day, up and down mountains to teach english.
So not only was I re-infecting it every day, but i was putting stress on it, so that healing would have been slowed anyway. When I got back to the doctor, he said that putting anything on it now wouldn’t help, we have to attack the infection from the inside with a whole lot of antibiotics.
I believe this is how we relate to sin a whole lot. We get a little cut from being unwise. We steal something, or relate to someone inappropriately, or use our bodies incorrectly. Then instead of letting the cut be cleaned and healed – repenting and being forgiven, we continue playing soccer with an open wound. We continue walking up mountains everyday – even if the action we are making isn’t sinful, as we ignore and forget about the sin/wound, the sin begins to fester and it begins to compromise everything else.
With my infection, as it got worse my foot would start cramping because it would be trying to walk in such a way to avoid the pain that the wound was causing. but then as it wasn’t designed to walk like that, the opposite side of the foot started hurting. As we start pushing that lie, or the theft, or the devaluing of others down, we start stealing and lying and devaluing people in other ways. or we focus these things on ourselves. Our usual commitment to holy living and intimacy with God begins to erode.
and then there comes a point when everything crashes down. A friend of mine, Karen, looked at my wound for a mere second and said “Yep, you need the doctor. Today… You should go today, do you need me to drive?” She recognised that there was no way forward for my foot outside of medical attention. Similar sentiments from the doctor and i was on my way to the chemist.
Multiple times in life i have been literally on my knees crying out to God because i had had enough of walking around on wounds. I wanted healing. I wanted completion. and instinctively I knew God, the ultimate doctor could overwhelm my body with the greatest antibiotic ever – GRACE. He would make everything better.
But now. As my body feels strange with all these pills I’m taking, I remember asking the doctor “ok for future reference, how to I avoid this happening to future teams that i send”
Repentance isn’t just getting grace. Repentance is more preventative then we sometimes give it credit for. We change direction so that we don’t get back to this place.
Get the antibiotic, but get on the right road too.