I’ve shared this illustration with a number of people recently, now I’m sharing it with everyone.
A couple years ago I re-ruptured a disc in my lower back. It was causing excruciating, debilitating pain down my legs. While I pursued a possible surgery, I met with a physical therapist who told me that I did not need to have surgery. He said the broken piece of disc would likely dissolve and stop shearing the nerve, gradually relieving the pain and allowing more movement again. Then he told me that the healing process would take three to five-hundred days.
He was right. I was diligent with the exercises he gave me, and tried to avoid causing further damage by dumb decisions. It took over a year, but the Lord did give relief. Until late last December I had only boring updates to give him for many months.
There are a few things that relate to this exhortation to confession.
Sin will hurt. If you are watching porn, gossiping about a “friend,” disrespecting your parents, you are crushing/cutting your spiritual nerves. If you catch your spouse in sin, your spiritual nerves are also bearing a load that might result in serious damage.
No matter how it happened, some injuries take a while to heal. Forgiveness may be granted, but restoring trust takes time. Joy is a fruit of the Spirit, and joy is a discipline that takes exercise and effort and endurance. Be patient, keep looking to the Lord.
And you must mortify your flesh, die daily. Don’t make it worse. Refusing to kill the sin you can isn’t a good strategy to deal with the sin others won’t. We’ve all got sin to confess, otherwise it will be pain upon pain.
For when I kept silent, my bones wasted away
through my groaning all day long.
(Psalm 32:3 ESV)