You are looking at my downstairs washroom floor. My wife and I had a small difference of opinion about the leak. She said it was the pipes themselves, which is a far worse problem that affects the entire water system in the house. I said it was the damaged toilet, which we did not discover for a couple of months.
Now that the toilet has been removed, as well as most of the flooring, we can see the extent of the problem, and a real repair can be made.
I hear you ask, “Okay, Pastor, we’re sorry about your commode, but why are we looking at pictures of your rotted floor?”
It demonstrates a couple of principles we should know. The first of those is that we live in a fallen world where everything just decays and/or dies. Better to make preparations for that that be shocked and dismayed when it occurs. It may be upsetting when it finally does, but with preparation ahead of time, you have more options in front of you. David wanted to build God a home on earth, but he was restricted from building it by God who was unpleased with his warlike character, and told David that his son Solomon would be the one to do it. David didn’t sit around moping, he prepared for that (cf. 1 Chr. 22:5). It gave Solomon all kinds of options to do the building later.
The second thing is that we all somehow just leap to the worst possible option for what is wrong and make foolish decisions as a result. This is not the reason or self-control Paul speaks of in his letters. This is a “terriblizing” of the situation in order to wring our hands and play the victim and gain sympathy and sometimes “help” (for lack of a better word, and not really helpful) for relief of the situation, no matter how temporary. If you have never been in this position, I can humbly (and believe me, it is humiliating) tell you I have been, and the helps of the world are no help at all and are mere bandaids for what are actually amputation-level events. The solutions the world will not fix a person that does not want to be fixed.
Third, think of the leak itself as the effects of sin in our lives. Many times, sin can be unseen for quite a while in our lives. We can control the effects or minimize them. And then, as sin is wont to do, it grows out of control and can no longer be hidden. It burst forth and makes a really big mess. Then we have some choices on how to deal with it. We can ignore it, but that means the mess will get bigger, and ultimately destroy you, and maybe more than just you. Remember Ted Bundy the serial killer? Doctor James Dobson interviewed him about a week before the State of Florida executed him for his crimes. Doctor Dobson asked how it all started for Ted Bundy. Bundy’s answer was both blood-freezing to me and telling. “Penthouse magazine,” he said. He ignored that sin of pornography in his life that became a motivation to rape and kill until it made a mess that destroyed him…and at least 30 victims. Don’t ignore sin. Ever.
Also, one could simply put a bucket under the leak. It has the advantage of stop-gap speed and has little or no cost associated with it. And at first, it actually did some good. The floor began to dry out. However, I can tell you that the ritual of emptying the bucket every 6 hours or so became very wearisome. Forget once, and you’re back to a squishy floor. This is like ritualistic religion trying to work out its own version of salvation but it can’t. Sometime, you will forget, and the mess will be there again. Or do you really think the Bible teaches that your own works can save you? Go ahead, put you little bandaid on the stump of the missing leg. Eventually, you will bleed out. And the mess remains. All you did was delay or slow down the destruction to make it over a longer period of time for yourself.
The last option is a real repair. The old and rotten flooring is replaced by good and new material. An exchange must take place, both of material and currency to accomplish this. And in my case, with some old injuries I have that have led to some current medical situations for me, I cannot do it myself – someone must do it for me!
Do you see the Gospel parallels here? I cannot save myself, someone who is able must save me. In the case of my floor, it was two gents named Steve and Rick. In the case of my sin, it was a perfect man named Jesus, who is God’s Christ. In the former case, Steve and Rick did the work. In the latter case, Jesus the perfect man died in my place aso that sin’s power over me was broken so that I could live for him.
How about you? How is your leaking toilet? I know a good Repairman…