We have a snack drawer. I like to keep healthy snacks in it for the kids – nuts, raisins, etc. Around Halloween and Easter, some junk food sneaks its way in there too. But that is okay because it doesn’t stick around since it is shortly devoured. However, the other day, as I was cleaning out the drawer, I stumbled across a Fun Dip which had been opened and slyly tucked back into the corner. I can only assume one of the children was trying to save it for later and didn’t want it snatched by another child. Unfortunately, that blue sugary dip did not stay nicely tucked away in the back corner and instead spilled its contents all over the bottom of the drawer.
I briefly examined the situation and decided that the best way to clean up the mess was to lick my finger and swipe the blue sugar up and into my mouth. No sooner did I take the first swipe, than I noticed that my finger started to change color. Hmmm – this was going to be hard to explain to the children who were well acquainted with colorful sugary food changing the color of fingers and tongues. I thought to myself, “I could get a washcloth and clean this up nicely, or continue finger swiping it away.” As any desperate mother would do, I chose the finger method and enjoyed the sugar. All the while, my finger became more and more blue. Soon the sugar was gone, the drawer was clean, and all that was left was a very blue finger. No harm, no foul – or so I thought.
A few hours later my oldest child arrived home from school. He had a rough day. Kids were pressuring him to do what was wrong and it was really starting to get to him. I’m not sure why, but the Fun Dip incident sprang back into my mind. Just as the kids at school were tempting him to indulge in sinful behavior, the Fun Dip had been staring me in the face. We each had a choice, to turn away from temptation, or to indulge. Wisely, my child turned away. Unlike myself, his fingers were clean, and mine was deep dark blue.
Isn’t that how it is with sin too? With that first swipe of the finger, my finger turned somewhat blue. It bothered me a little and I considered turning away. But with every further swipe, my finger became more and more blue. After a while having a blue finger was no big deal and taking one more swipe of sugar didn’t even faze me. Similarly sin leaves lasting effects. That first time we indulge in sin, it does something to us – it changes how we look to the world. We have a choice to turn away or to continue indulging. The more we sin, the more we become accustomed to it, and the more it discolors our witness.
The blue finger didn’t go away overnight. It took a lot of soap, water, and scrubbing. Even then, I still had to wait a few days before it completely disappeared. Sin likes to hang around too. It doesn’t give up easily and it is always looking to darken our light. That day, I learned a lesson from my child who chose to do what was hard and turn away from sin. He didn’t feel especially good about not fitting in. In fact, it was one of the hardest days of his life. But he had clean hands. Often times, doing what is right is hard. People don’t always pat you on the back or give you high fives. Instead turning away from sin is frequently accompanied by people ridiculing you and even shunning you.
Yet, I am reminded that we don’t live for this world. And we should not seek the praises of men. Instead, our focus should be on eternity and shining God’s light in a dark world. The day I failed, my child shone. Good job, my eldest child! You taught me a lesson which I will pass down to the other children after you.
In all of this, a couple of verses came to mind: James 4:4 which teaches us that friendship with the world is enmity against God and Matthew 5:16 which tells us to let our light shine before others so that they will see our good deeds and glorify God:
“You are not faithful to God. Don’t you know that to be a friend of the world is to hate God? So anyone who chooses to be the world’s friend becomes God’s enemy” (James 4:4).
“In the same way, let your light shine so others can see it. Then they will see the good things you do. And they will bring glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).
Sarah and her husband have six children under the age of 12, 2 dogs, and way too much laundry! When they aren't busy with school, sports, and church, Sarah enjoys exploring northern Michigan and camping with her family.