I am a nail biter. Have been for as long as I can remember. When I was young I’d bite my nails until they bled. I still bite them until they hurt.
Anyway, I was driving home from Memphis last night with a car full of sleeping loved ones, listening to a podcast about Joseph and biting my nails—vigorously.
At some point I realized half my hand was in my mouth (it’s gross, I know) and I decided to stop. My newly vulnerable nail beds were starting to hurt and, beyond that, I just didn’t want to bite my nails. I wanted to have a little self control, to stop because I wanted to stop, because biting my nails wasn’t doing me any good.
The problem though with nail biting is that there’s never a good time to stop (This is a little graphic for non-nail-biters but those of you in the club will understand). You see, my teeth aren’t sharp enough to make a clean cut. So, when I bite a nail, I’m left with a ragged edge, an edge I try to fix with more nail biting. I reason that leaving the nail would be bad; it would catch and snag. Thus, I keep biting and I bite until biting any further is impossible.
Why am I talking about this?
Well, I was thinking tonight about how biting my nails is like sinning, about how sometimes I can’t stop with one sin because I need to make more mistakes to fix my mistakes.
This is the sinner’s MO.
We do something we shouldn’t, and the result is a ragged edge. And we don’t want to leave that edge so we do something else (like lie or cheat or get angry) to fix it. And, of course, we just keep creating ragged edges until our whole lives get eaten up or torn to shreds. Nothing ever gets fixed, but we refuse to stop until it does.
We can’t fix our messes. And I think we probably know that deep down, but we like to make excuses for what is honestly a lack of self control. We don’t have the courage or the discipline to just stop.
We can stop. God can fix. But He can’t fix until we stop.