In many forests, a plant lurks that will hurt those who touch it: Poison ivy. This plant can be identified by its distinctive three leaflets or by the hairy growths on its vines. When skin comes into contact with poison ivy, an itchy rash results.
Before we venture into the woods, we need to know what the poison ivy plant looks like so that we can avoid it. Otherwise we may end up touching it and developing a rash.
Sin is a lot like poison ivy. Even if we don’t know how to recognize it, touching it will hurt us. Just as we should learn how to avoid poisonous plants before we enter the forest, we should also learn from the Bible how to identify and avoid sin.
If we ever forget to watch out for poison ivy, a brief brush against the plant can cause a lot of suffering. Itchy red bumps may develop, sometimes all over an arm or a face.
Such an encounter will likely be memorable, causing us to be more careful to avoid the plant in the future. Thankfully, the effects of poison ivy can be treated with special creams and other methods.
Even touching sin for just a moment can also cause a lot of suffering. The more we give in to temptation, the more we are likely to be harmed. Not everyone’s body is allergic to the poison ivy plant, but everyone’s spirit is negatively affected by sin.
Yet if we allow sin to harm us, God offers treatment. We can repent and ask Him for forgiveness. He will wash our sins away and help us to do better.
One day we will live in a world where sin is no more and the forests contain no poison ivy plants. Until then, ignorance of sin and of poison ivy will not keep us safe. We need to educate ourselves about both. Avoiding them will help us stay physically and spiritually healthy.