Given that I am battling with a bout of poison ivy here lately, I thought I could turn it into a metaphor for sin.
Poison ivy is the curse of sin that was passed on to us from our first parents, Adam and Eve. Scratching the itch of poison ivy is the actual sin. Now anyone who has had poison ivy knows that the wages of scratching is certain death. But it’s hard to tell this to the person who is being taunted by the itch. All he wants to do is scratch it. Even though doctors, mothers, nurses, friends and all of society have said, “don’t scratch it.” He wants to scratch it.
It calls to him. It begs him. It taunts him. He wants to give in, but knows that he should not. So he convinces himself that maybe if he just scratched it a little bit, just on the edges, just for a few moments, then it would be “OK” to scratch. Yes, logically, he knows that scratching it is sinful, but will just a little bit of scratching be OK?
He scratches just on the edge of the wound. O, the pleasure that fills his body. His arms actually get chill bumps. It feels so good. He thinks to himself, “How could something that feels this good, be so wrong.” Now it has him. He is no longer scratching just on the edges of the wound, he is in full-fledged scratching. Just like a dog, he is scratching and scratching. It is wonderful.
He finally stops. Reasoning with himself that all is OK. Only a little bit of sin was OK. But it’s not. Now it is even worse than before. All the scratching he did achieved nothing more than to bring about more of a desire to scratch. The desire is even greater now and it has him. Not one moment of scratching gave him any real satisfaction at all. It just led to more desire, desire that would not be quenched or satisfied.
He needs help. He needs intervention. But anyone who knows about poison ivy realizes, there just not much you can do for it. You can cover it up with the pink stuff, but alas, that doesn’t cure the problem only makes the itch go away. He can take the pills from the doctors office. Again, they help but do not make it go away. He needs real help.
OK, that is as far as I can take the metaphor. Please pray for me that I would get over this rotten bout of poison ivy.