This past week I had dinner with a friend. It’s a special friendship to me because she was my oldest son’s teacher when he was in 6th and 7th grade. Almost five years later, we remain friends.
Her family recently went through a scary experience. Her husband ended up in the hospital when an infection spread through his leg. How did the infection start? It started with an ingrown toenail. It got so bad that they literally had to cut open his leg to allow the infection (puss) to ooze out. He is still at home, unable to work.
As she was telling me this story I couldn’t get over how something that would seem so insignificant, like an ingrown toenail, could turn into such a dangerous infection. If he had gone much longer without seeing a doctor, it literally could have become deadly.
I didn’t realize at the time how that story would turn into a spiritual lesson. The very next night was my church’s Wednesday evening Bible study. We are going through a video series on one of my favorite Bible teachers, John Bevere.
The lesson that night was about sin. He talked about how one day believers will have to give an account to God for their works and how some of those works will be burned up. Suddenly the story of my friend’s husband came into my mind.
God was showing me how sin is like that ingrown toenail. It starts off as something we think is pretty insignificant. “Oh, it’s not a big deal if I watch…” or “No one will know if I…” or “I will just do it this one time and then never again.” There are many scenarios of sin that can play out in our lives. These are sins that we think are really no big deal.
But what can happen? If we don’t treat the ingrown toenail, or our sin, it can cause an infection. The infection starts off pretty small, contained to that one area, our toe. Yet without getting a handle on things, before we know it the infection begins to spread.
If my friend’s husband had continued to ignore the pain in his leg, it could have turned deadly. Keep in mind that the pain in his leg he was experiencing he didn’t associate with the ingrown toenail. He didn’t put two and two together. That can happen to us. We have sinned and something in our life begins to happen and we don’t realize that it was because of our sin.
Keep ignoring it, keep letting it spread and we can experience spiritual death. Thankfully he caught the infection in time to have it cut open and dealt with. God will cut open and deal with our sin, too. Suddenly we are exposed and now we have this mess to deal with. It’s not a pretty sight, as I am sure my friend can attest to.
One of the things that stood out in the Bible study was how God cleanses us from our unrighteousness. His leg had to be cut open and cleaned out. God does the cleaning. We don’t have to do the cleaning. But he had to make sure the wound was bandaged and kept clean. We must do the same. Once God has cleaned us out, we need to make sure that we stay clean. That means we don’t go back to our sin.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9
Don’t ignore your ingrown toenail!