By: Dennis Bates
More than once I have been told to stay away from sharp objects, and I do fine for a while, but then forget and suffer the consequences.
My earliest recollection of my little problem goes way back to Scout camp at a time when my voice was changing and I still thought camping was fun. It was my turn to build the fire, and I had to do it the old fashioned way with flint and steel to qualify for my camping merit badge. I had little trouble getting the spark to hit the tinder, and after some judicious blowing I had a full flame. Now I needed some wood kindling to build a fire that would catch the logs on fire.
That took a hand axe, which is a sharp object. I learned quickly that when you hold a chunk of wood so you can make kindling, it is really a good idea to keep your fingers out of the way. I didn’t. Luckily I didn’t lose my left index finger. Let’s just say that one of my buddies and I qualified for our First Aid merit badges that day too, and although I have long ago misplaced the actual merit badge, I still have a substantial scar on my left hand to remind me I earned it.
Then there was the time that a friend and I stood at the top of a hill and threw bottles at the railroad tracks below us to watch them hit the rails and shatter. Don’t ask. It’s a boy thing. What did I learn? Never throw a bottle that is already broken. Jagged glass is nasty. My right index finger will testify to that. There’s a scar there too, just so you know.
I have quit counting the number of times I’ve cut myself trying to slice bread or mince fresh garlic. There’s just too many. My wife tries to give me kitchen duties that require use of nothing sharper than a rubber spatula so she doesn’t have to bandage me up in the middle of meal preparation. I love to cook, but the last time I picked up a chef’s knife, my wife said calmly, “Put the knife down and just back away.” See, sometimes I forget.
The middle finger on my left hand has a scar and a permanent numb spot, which are the result of a crystal glass snapping in my hands while I washed it, and slicing my finger open. Stitches were required. I never saw that one coming.
And as much as I’d like to think that’s all behind me, I actually have places on my body that haven’t been scarred yet, so there is still time for a sharp object lurking in the shadows to find them, and I’m sure some will do just that.
As painfully humorous as some of these incidents are now, looking back at them, they remind me of something that isn’t all that funny. Sin is a sharp object. It can cut, maim and even destroy. We should stay away from it, but like I sometimes forget to stay away from sharp objects, I also sometimes forget to stay away from the spiritual sharp objects, and I pay the consequences when I get too close. I carry the scars.
Fortunately, however, I have a Savior who carries deeper scars, so mine can heal, even if they’re yet to be inflicted. As long as I remember that, I’ll be more than fine, even when I forget to stay away from sharp objects.