To make a long story short, my ankle sprain was the most severe type. All of the ligaments had been torn. It took months for it to heal, and for well over a year there was a discoloration in certain areas of my foot where blood had pooled under the skin. I still have a scar where my skin tissue broke due to the extreme pressure of swelling around the ankle. Thankfully, I made a full recovery and am still able to enjoy playing basketball today.
Reflecting upon this injury has made me realize that there are some comparisons that can be made between physical injuries and sin.
1. INJURIES CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE, AT ANYTIME, AND TO ANYONE--SUCH IS ALSO TRUE OF SIN.
Some injuries are serious and some aren't, but they all need time to heal. No one plans on getting hurt, but injuries do happen. If someone had told me that skipping basketball that day would have prevented me from having to endure months of rehabilitation and weeks of suffering, I obviously wouldn't have gone. But, that's the way life is--regularly unpredictable. We often don't realize the ultimate consequences of our choices and actions.
Regarding sin, it is likewise true that some transgressions are more serious than others (cf. John 19:11). But, in order for one to be saved from eternal death, all of his sins, no matter how serious, must be healed--that is, forgiven by the blood of Jesus. Our world is so full of temptations and wickedness that sin is never far away from any of us. We must be exceedingly careful because sin can overtake any of us, anywhere, at anytime--if we let it! It is possible to fall into sin while working, while enjoying free time or recreational activities, while watching television or surfing the internet, etc. No place is safe from the devil's snares! We must be strong in the Lord and humble (I Cor. 10:12,13) as we resist the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (I John 2:16). If people really understood the ultimate consequences of unforgiven sin, they would forsake their wicked ways.
2. DIFFERENT TYPES OF INJURIES TAKE LONGER TO HEAL (OR OVERCOME) THAN OTHERS--SUCH IS ALSO TRUE OF SIN.
Even with a walking boot and therapy, it still took me several months for my ankle to heal properly. I had suffered several previous sprains that were not as serious, and they had only slowed me down for a week or two.
It is true that some sins take longer to heal (or overcome) than others, simply because those sins are more deeply rooted in our lives than other sins are. True healing cannot take place until the individual has repented of the sin and sought forgiveness on God's terms. Additionally, constant effort must be put forth to avoid falling into the sin again and thereby agitating an "old wound."
3. SOME INJURIES LEAVE PERMANENT SCARS--SUCH IS ALSO TRUE OF SIN.
As I mentioned earlier, I have a scar on my ankle. It will be a reminder of the injury for life, though it will probably fade some with the passing of time.
Some sins also leave scars for life. Even after one's sins have been remitted, there are sometimes lasting consequences to deal with. I think specifically of King David regarding this point (although his life after II Samuel 10 illustrates all of the major points in this lesson, and not just this point).
David fell into sin with Bathsheba--first adultery and then murder. Sin can be committed by anyone, anytime, and anywhere--even by those who are basically God-fearing. David had sinned before, but this transgression would take him longer to get over (because he tried to cover up his wickedness instead of turning from it). After he had come to his senses, repented, and was forgiven by God, the healing began. However, there were some long-term scars in David's life because of these sins. The child of the illicit union died, and David suffered great adversity in his family for years (as punishment from the Lord).
Friends, may we, to the best of our ability, avoid sin and the scars it brings. When we do fall prey to it (and we will - Rom. 3:23), let us seek God's forgiveness on His terms as soon as possible.