I wash my hands a lot because I am a dad, which means I change a lot of diapers and handle food in rapid succession. I realized today that I make the same mistake every time I wash my hands. I turn on the hot water and start rinsing and by the time my hands are covered in soap the water is excruciatingly hot. Because my hands are covered in soap I don’t want to grab the cold knob and make it soapy, so I put my hands in the hot water to rinse and then pull out in agony over and over. Finally I will give in (after boiling myself like whole wheat pasta noodles) and turn on the cold water.
Cleaning my hands can take some scrubbing, but this should never result in transforming my fingers into an hors d’oeuvre. So like many pastors, I begin thinking “are there other areas of life where I or others might allow ourselves to endure pain that is unnecessary?”
Sadly, the answer is yes. We allow ourselves to stay in unhealthy relationships, or organizations, because we think it is necessary in being a good person. We remain an employee of an unscrupulous company, because we aren’t sure it is “right” to leave. We will hate and punish ourselves for our mistakes, failures, and weaknesses, instead of letting the grace of Jesus Christ cover us. So we remain under the steady flow of scalding water, exposing our lives and our families to harm, rather than a offend friend, lose a relationship, or invite criticism.
But in all these things we’re still just deep frying our hands. Sometimes washing our hands requires some hard work in a little scrubbing, but it should never cause us harm. And at times living out our faith is difficult, and there are seasons that are difficult, because life isn’t just about what is easy. But we should not allow ourselves to endure pain that is unnecessary, or pass that experience to our families.
Is there an area of your life that you could compare to willingly placing your hands repeatedly under a hot faucet? Will you at least pull out your hands from the sink and turn the cold water on now, or are you going to wait until you are already badly burned?