Monday, February 22, 2016

What We Can Learn about Sin from Back Aches


Back aches are a lot like sin. Their effects certainly are. They hurt. They hinder fruitfulness. They make us less pleasant to be around. They make us less than God wants us to be.

Their causes frequently are too. At least in my case, they’re usually due my doing something that I shouldn’t do (lifting with my back instead of my legs) or failing to do what I should do (exercise) because I wrongly perceive those to be better alternatives to what I actually should have done.

       The ways to avoid back aches resemble the ways to avoid sin. We are far less likely to have back aches if we regularly do "core exercises,"  and we are less likely to sin if we are strong in the core spiritual exercises of prayer, time in God’s word, and spiritual reading.

     The ways to deal with back aches once they occur are similar too. Just as we can obtain some relief from ibuprofen and heating pads, God gives us relief through confession. Psalm 32; Hosea 14:2-9; Sirach 17:29; 1 John 1:8-2:2.  The sooner we take advantage of that grace the sooner the effects of sin start to abate, but the longer we delay the worse things get. Sirach 5:7.  And just as it often takes gradual and sometimes unpleasant stretching to deal with back aches’ lasting effects, we sometimes have to take unpleasant, but ultimately healing, actions to address the temporal consequences of our sins.