What A Sunburn Taught Me About Sin

Recently I spent the afternoon swimming with my family. My wife asked if I wanted some sunscreen but being a tough guy I declined. As the day progressed, I felt my skin starting to tingle a tiny bit and thought about getting the sunscreen but figured we wouldn’t be at the pool much longer.

That night I turned on the shower and stepped in. As soon as I did, it felt like tiny needles penetrating my skin. I quickly looked and discovered my skin was all red. Yes…the tough guy who declined the sunscreen was burned all over.

But sunburns don’t happen all at once. They happen slowly. They sneak up on you. You’re doing fine all day at the pool but when you get home the pain starts. If you could really feel the effects of the sun right away, you would get out of the sun, go sit in the shade or even put on that sunscreen. Instead, because sunburns happen so gradually, we are often caught unaware until the damage has been done.

As I was thinking about this, I began to think about sin. If we immediately knew the damage sin does to our lives we wouldn’t let sin anywhere near us. If instantly we could see sin’s damage to our family, sin’s destruction of our character and reputation, the divorces caused by sin, the alcohol or drug dependencies, or the time in jail that sin can bring we would run from sin as fast as we could. The problem is that sin is like sunburn. It takes awhile before you can really see the damage.

I’m reminded of this verse from Psalm, chapter 1. Here is what it says:

Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers.

Walk, stand, sit…there is a progression here. When it comes to sin, we’re told in this verse not to walk in step with the wicked because what happens next? We find ourselves now standing in sin. Then we find ourselves sitting in sin. Just like the sunburn, sin sneaks up on us. We were walking, we get pulled in to sin and we are now standing, and now finally trapped, we are sitting in sin.

So, stay out of a spiritual sunburn situation. When you see sin just keep walking. In fact, just run.

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