It was a hot and sunny day and we were outside. I asked Nora if she had put sunblock on. She said she had. Later that evening her face and shoulders were clearly sunburned.
It was a small lie, but a lie nonetheless. But also it was one I could clearly see had been a lie.
It got me thinking about sins — and how if every sin we committed would give a bit of sunburn to our skin (sinburn?) then it would (a) be obvious to others if we sinned, but more importantly (b) perhaps it would help us to stop sinning. [Think: The Scarlet Letter and Pinocchio.]
We are all sinners to some degree or another. But most/many times our sin is hidden. Perhaps every once in a while we’ll have an obvious third-degree burn from our sins. But for the most part knowledge of our sinfulness is just between us and God.
But God’s knowledge of our sin is what should matter the most. Sure, sinburned skin might cause us to change our behavior so that people didn’t see us — but then that would mean we are changing our ways for the wrong reasons. Changing for the better is good — but a right relationship with God should be the motivation, not societal pressure.
And so it seems fitting that sinburn is invisible to the human eye. The one to whom sinfulness matters sees – and that is all that matters. God knows our sinfulness. He knows when we fail to layer on the sunblock of His love.
He wants us to not sin, but He also loves us so much that He lets us primarily falter only before His eyes. Whether we have slightly burned skin or whether our skin is blistering from our sinfulness only He knows.
And then He waits for us to return to Him; to ask for His forgiveness; to seek His healing aloe.
May we realize that each sin wounds our soul like a sunburn. May we recognize that God sees our sinburn every time. May we remember to turn back to God after we fail; seeking Him and His healing love over and over. Amen.