I have been shooting my bow for the last week getting ready for a hunting trip to the Steens Mountains. It is my favorite place to hunt, and pretty much the only place I have hunted for the past 30 years. I have a big canvas bag stuffed with shrink wrap for a target. It stops an arrow cold after only a few inches of penetration. I have it hanging from the ends of rafters on my new garage that I recently built. I shoot 6 arrows at 20 yards, then 30, 40, 50, and 60 yards making a few small adjustments on my sights as needed. I take a short break and then repeat the sequence. I am starting to get most of the arrows in the center of the bag most of the time. Though I am getting pretty accurate with my bow, when I started in this year I had a bad habit of flinching as I released the arrow resulting in a really bad shot that ended up sticking in my garage wall instead of my nice arrow target. The result is there are a bunch of holes in my garage wall. When I get back from my hunting trip I am going to patch all the holes with Big Stretch caulking and paint it and it will be as good as new.
That garage wall is a picture of my life. When I do something wrong, hurt someone with my words, mess up with my money, fail to love Patty the way I should, or make a decision that results in a huge loss of time, it is like an arrow shot into my garage wall. 1 John 1:9 says that if I confess my sins that God will forgive me my sins, that is like pulling the arrows out of the wall. The problem is that there is still a hole that looks ugly, that is the consequences that I experience for the dumb things I have done. Though I am forgiven there is usually still a consequence for the sin committed. If I work at it, I can usually fix the consequence of my blunder by reconciling with the people I offended, or doing something to make up for my sin. It is my relational “big stretch caulking” liberally applied and then painted.
Many people just live with the holes in the wall because it seems easier just to ignore the consequences than fix them. It often is very humbling the fixing process and many instead of experiencing the humiliation of telling someone that we blew it will just pretend that it didn’t happen. Time does not take the hole in the wall away. It stays and gets uglier by the day.