When I was 6 years old, I lived quite the adventure. I grew up in Mexico City, but the basic summer activities were all the same. Summers were spent roller-blading, playing roller hockey, and full of soccer. Lots of soccer. There was never enough soccer. No, I’m serious, I don’t think you understand…it was a TON of soccer.
As with any 6 year old, just roller-blading eventually got boring. I mean…you can only go so fast on your own. You will eventually need some sort of propulsion outside of your own muscle. Naturally, you had to involve a partner.
A buddy of mine was a pretty fast bicycler. I mean, to my 6-year-old eyes, at least. I would start roller-blading next to him and when he was just about to start to pull away, I’d grab onto the back of his seat and we’d both go flying faster and faster. I was a pretty skilled roller-blader, so this wasn’t much of an issue.
However, one smoggy afternoon (there are no sunny afternoons in Mexico City…just smoggy) I was being pulled down our street by my buddy on his bike. I decided that I was going to propel myself past him with whatever strength I could muster. With both of us at full speed, I pulled as hard as I could on the back of the bicycle seat to propel myself past him. Clearly, my understanding of physics was slightly underdeveloped. Next thing I know I am flat on my back, looking straight into the greasy muffler of a rusty parked car, my buddy is lying next to me, and the bycicle is on top of us. I examine the damage and everything looks good, except that there is a serious throbbing in my lower back.
I’ve always been a relatively careful person, so I figured I’d have mom take a look at it. That turned out to be one of the worst decisions I could have made. Or at least, that’s how it felt. My mom pulled out this little orange bottle. I didn’t see it after that. She told me “this might sting a little bit.” That qualified as the understatement of the millenium. What my mother had grabbed was iodine. I’m certain there was peroxide in Mexico, but apparently we didn’t have any. At 6 years old, I’m sure every possible word I wasn’t allowed to say flew through my mind. We were pretty conservative Baptists, so the list was REALLY long. It was topped with words like “crap”, “fart,” and “butt.” I didn’t even make it to the actual bad words since we had so many other words we weren’t allowed to say. I digress.
I didn’t know what child abuse was, but I was pretty sure that I had just experienced it. I had no idea that inside that little orange bottle that my mom had grabbed, was a 6 inch blade that she had jabbed into my lower back. Well, she didn’t…but that’s what it felt like.
After I got over my very manly hissy fit, my mom explained to me that it was iodine. Iodine is a disinfectant. It kills germs and bacteria. Any wound that becomes infected and is left untended will inevitably get worse. The first step that needed to take place was that the wound needed to be disinfected.
Over the course of my life I have continued to go back to that story. For all of its burning pain, iodine reminds me of grace. When we confess sin, the grace of God shows up. Experiencing the grace of confession is one of the most shame-filled, broken moments that you will ever face. Maybe you’ve been there. It burns, like nothing else burns.
But, the grace of confession does much more than burn. It disinfects. Sin that is not dealt with will eventually become infected. The bacteria, that is the effects of sin, will eat away at your soul, rotting out the flesh of your life and walk with God. The grace to confess quickly kills sin’s infestation into your humanity, and is nothing less than iodine to an open wound.
The grace of confession is always followed by the grace of healing. The removal of the bacteria that rots your soul, allows for God’s soothing, healing grace to take effect. It re-forms you, re-shapes you, re-makes you into everything what God intends you to be.
We all have a tendency to ignore confession, and, the majority of us are walking around with bacteria infecting our walk with God and our relationship with others. God grants the grace to confess. Step up and do it.