Monday, September 10, 2012

Sin is like skunk

My dog got sprayed by a skunk around midnight last night right outside my bedroom window.  I chose to let her stay in the garage overnight rather than run out to the store and buy all the de-skunking stuff right then and there…it was late…I was tired…she was smelly but fine, it could wait until morning.

Unfortunately, skunk smell isn't easily ignored when it invades your home.  The garage happens to be right below my bedroom and even with all the windows open and fans blowing furiously, my house stunk so badly that it made me physically ill.  I couldn't sleep and spent the night moving from room to room trying to find relief from the wretched odor.  

This morning I got up and got everything needed to de-skunkify the dog. She was less than cooperative (she hates water) and ended up spraying skunk water all over me so that now, I smell faintly disgusting too.  She is not as toxic as she was a few hours ago, but the she'll have to endure a few more baths before she can come back into the house.  I hope she really likes the garage because she'll be spending a few days there.

As I tried to wash the skunk stink from my hands after washing the dog in baking soda (thank you, Google) it occurred to me that skunk stink is a lot like sin.  Often, we get into it quite by accident.  I'm sure my dog was not out looking for skunks at midnight (she was supposed to do her business and come right back like she's been doing every night for the last 9 years) but one showed up and her curiosity got the better of her.  Like a skunk in the yard at midnight for a dog, the temptation to sin shows up unexpectedly and piques our curiosity enough that we investigate.  I'm sure my dog had no idea what the consequences would be for investigating the skunk too enthusiastically….much like we often are unaware of the consequences we are facing when we investigate temptation a little more enthusiastically than we ought to.

Like skunk stink, sin becomes toxic much more quickly than we can handle.  Once sprayed, there is no going back…the stink is yours for quite a while.  Most of us do not start on the slippery slope of temptation intending to hurtle downward to the bottom faster than we can handle, but often, once sprayed, the stink lasts quite a while.  Like skunk stink, if you leave it too long without dealing with it (like overnight, for example) sin worsens…its oily residue invades every crevice of our lives and the lives of those around us.  Left untreated, it becomes more and more difficult to remove (and it requires a lot more effort than a baking soda bath).

Like skunk stink, sin invades every pore it touches and spreads quickly to everything and everyone around us.  Before we can even see it, sin has taken over.  We cannot sleep, we are feeling ill, and everything around us is tainted by the wretched odor of our disobedience.  It can take months to fully rid a dog of skunk odor (I know…this is not our first adventure with a skunk)…and it can take decades to restore a life that has been destroyed by sin.

Fortunately, there is good news.  For skunk stink; baking soda, hot water, and dish soap are remarkably helpful.  It takes effort and a few go-rounds, but eventually it works.  For sin; God has offered redemption and reconciliation in Christ.  It takes faith and a few go-rounds to bring ourselves into obedience so that we allow Christ to keep us from temptation but, eventually, it works. 

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