Speaker: Jerry Cisar
During the Kosovo war (1998-1999), commenting on the rage experienced by victims of the war who had been robbed of not only their possessions but their life’s work, a NY Times journalist asks, “Can such a deep hurt ever heal?”
In response, an Albanian newspaper editor related a story to the journalist: “There was a naughty boy whose father would hammer a nail into a piece of wood every time his son did something wrong. One day, the boy asked why, and when it was explained, the boy decided he would behave better. Each time he did something good, his father would remove a nail from the board. Eventually, all the nails came out.” The man paused and then preceded to the story’s moral. “Yes, the nails were gone,” he said. “But the holes always remained.”
Sin leaves holes! Continued sin keeps making holes, harming or destroying people. Just pulling nails won’t do! (And no, good deeds don’t cancel sin.)
This story provides an analogy (and all analogies fall apart at some point) that might help us understand this week’s text (1 John 2:1-6). The apostle John aims to keep us from putting nails in the board, gives us hope when we do, and calls us to join God in the task of restoring the wood to a place in which its holes are filled.