As I walked down the hallway past my daughter’s bedroom door, I noticed the distinctive smell of a struck match. Curious what was going on (since she was probably one or two at the time and didn’t have access to matches), I pushed open her door. There in the middle of her floor sat her older brother, an open box of matches before him and one black-tipped match lying on the carpet.
I tried to keep panic from my voice. “What are you doing?”
“I wanted to see how these work.”
I proceeded to explain—again—why we don’t play with matches. He acknowledged that the flame had startled him, and he’d dropped the match. And I swallowed my panic yet again to gently explain to him what could have happened when he dropped that match! (Thankfully, the flame died before the match hit the carpet.)
His eyes grew huge as he realized what he might have caused, and my sweet preschooler said, “I’m sorry, Mommy!”
I gave him a hug and said very seriously, “Let’s not do that again, okay?” And he never has.
This potentially terrible story came back to my mind recently as I was reflecting on Proverbs 18:1: “He who separates himself seeks his own desire, He quarrels against all sound wisdom.”
Thankfully my son didn’t quarrel against my sound wisdom regarding matches, but the first part of the verse? When he snatched those matches from the kitchen counter (where I thought he couldn’t reach…), did he proceed to “seek his own desire” in the same room where I was? No. He separated himself from wise counsel by hiding in his sister’s room, where I wouldn’t be watching.
How often do we do the same thing?
When we are tempted to do something we know we shouldn’t, do we give in to that temptation publicly? Not usually. Usually, we don’t want others to know because they might judge us. So we find some way to keep it a secret.
And if others find out or suspect? Well, we just separate ourselves from them!
When we choose to continue in a pattern of sin, going to church becomes uncomfortable. We feel convicted there, as if every person around us somehow knows about our secret. So we just stop going to church.
James has a better solution.
James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.”
When we humble ourselves and acknowledge our failure, we can be forgiven. Our relationships can be restored and hearts can be healed.
That doesn’t happen when we’re still separating ourselves from “all sound wisdom.” We have to take that step to reach out to someone, confessing that what we’ve done was wrong. Seeking to restore the relationship.
(When someone shares their confession with us, we need to be about restoration and healing, not judgment and condemnation.)
And just like my match-testing son, when we acknowledge that what we did was wrong, we open the door for forgiveness and healing.
Have you separated yourself? I encourage you to seek out sound wisdom and confess so that your relationships can be restored and your heart healed.
Sarah Ruut is an avid reader of Christian fiction when she’s not busy homeschooling her four tweens and teens. She also runs two blogs where she hopes to connect with people right where they are. She loves sharing about books and their authors on her blog, Fiction, Faith, and Fun, where you’ll find reviews of Christian fiction, interviews with amazing authors, giveaways and more! She also offers encouragement for Christian living at Breaking Ordinary. You can connect with Sarah on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads