By Shawn Michael Shoup on September 18 2012
When I was a teenager, like many of you, I had some minor problems with reoccurring acne. And it REALLY bothered me!
Especially when I had a big event coming up, say like a high school prom...
One year, I had it all lined up to go to one of the big formal dances with Deanna (my future wife). It was an extra big deal because she was already in college -- a 7-hour-drive one way for her to come back for the weekend. The anticipation was high. My expectations were really high. I wanted everything to be PERFECT.
And then it came... the chin-zit. And a BIG one. The kind that was swelling, and red and painful.
I did what any self-respecting teenager in my position would do. I tried to hide it.
I went and purchased a large, maximum strength box of "pore cleansing pads" and started the cleaning process. I put the pad on my chin and waited. Have you ever used them before? Remember that stinging sensation as you put the cleanser to your skin? To my teenage brain, that feeling meant that it was working -- the pad was doing it's thing and getting rid of that blemish on my face.
That sensation doesn't stop if you keep on holding it to your face, by the way. Which is why I decided that it sill had more work to do. I would hold one of those pads up to my face, rubbing it around from time-to-time, until that thing was dry. When I removed it, the blemish was still there, so I'd get another pad and do the same thing. Over and over until...
My chin became a rather LARGE, swollen red spot -- crater doesn't even begin to define it -- with skin burns from the prolonged exposure to the acne medication (sigh). Even with make-up -- which I tried to use to cover it up -- there was absolutely no mistaking the gigantic skin damaged spot on my face. It was horrifying! I was devastated.
The problem is that we often try to do the same thing with sin.
As ministry leaders, there are lots of times in our lives that we are platformed. Not even necessarily by choice but by the nature of our role. We're in the spotlight. And blemishes scare us. That little known sin in our lives can be really worrisome to us. We like to appear to be PERFECT. So instead of seeking help or confessing that sin, we try to cover it up.
Sin, in it's darkest state, while we try to hide it, continues to grow. It seeps into our heart. It burns away at our flesh. It kills.
The day that sin is revealed, it has grown into something more horrific and terrible than we ever intended to let it be.
If I had only listened to the advice of my parents -- wash my face a couple of times a day... don't pick at it... leave it alone... -- my blemish could have been barely recognizable. Maybe even completely gone.
If only we would listen to our heavenly Father...
When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans.
The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up.
Then I let it all out; I said, "I'll make a clean breast of my failures toGod."
Suddenly the pressure was gone— my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared.
Psalm 32:3-5 MSG