On Sin and Sunburn

This past summer, my youngest son did something foolish. Really foolish. Although at the time, he didn’t think there would be any consequences to his actions.

He went to our neighborhood pool. Without sunscreen. From10 am to 2 pm.

Without being too graphic, he developed a rather large blister on top of the sunburn on his shoulder. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch. It hurt me to look at it. It hurt him even worse to live with it.

He needed to attend swim practice, but once the blister split open, it hurt too much. So I told him to go get me a waterproof band-aid. He got it, but didn’t give it to me. You see, as his mom, I knew I needed to test a small area first.

He decided to slap it on before he got back to me.

Waterproof band-aids aren’t small. They’re made to keep a decent size area dry. And they don’t come off with water.

I realized what he’d done when I heard the screams. I ran to the bathroom to find him in hysterics trying to get it off. He was caught in the worst place possible. He wanted it off, but the process of taking it off was more painful than leaving it there. But leaving it there wasn’t an option.

I wanted to step in and help. But he resisted me with more tears.

That’s when it hit me.  

His sunburn was like my sin. Or yours.

You see, he went to the pool without protection, stayed too long and developed a wicked sunburn. And then he disobeyed me and tried to fix the problem himself. He cried and cried because he was in extreme pain. 

Did I need to punish him at that moment? No. He was suffering because of his own actions. Instead, I felt compassion. Deep compassion. I didn’t want him to be in this situation. But I couldn’t take it away from him either.

There are definitely consequences to our sin. And others’ sin. God does not delight in our suffering. He feels compassion for us. Sometimes we have to endure some rough consequences. But that doesn’t negate his love or compassion.

I explained this to my son. His response? He told me to go write this down.

He was deeply sorry and repentant over what he’d done. And that’s the way we need to be with God. We need to run to him to ask forgiveness and for help to deal with the messes we make in life because of our sin.

Think about it, God used my son’s sin to teach me a valuable lesson about His love and compassion. He redeemed the sin for His glory.

I’m not suggesting being laissez-faire about sin. There are consequences. Sometimes very painful consequences.

Learn to listen to God and obey to start with, but when you do sin, run to him for forgiveness and help.

And guess what? My sun used protective sunscreen the rest of the summer.


  1. What a great revelation! I love how you said that God doesn't like having us in sin and watching us go around and around in our error, but that He has compassion. I needed to hear that today. Thanks!

  2. You're so welcome. It really did hit me when I saw how much pain Scott had gotten himself into. I'm his mom. I felt compassion. Glad it helped.

  3. Great observation and good lesson to apply to our daily lives

  4. Thanks Ellen. Glad it was helpful! Great to spend some time with you last week!

  5. Oh mary, thanks for knocking me over the head with the spiritual hammer today! Yes God does have compassion for us, but at the same time our sin can get us into some deep messes sometimes! Love you sweet friend!

  6. Jamie, I agree. We can get in messes but isn't His grace and forgiveness good?