A story taken from chapter 15 of the book “EQUIPPED!”
Dave pulled into the driveway and parked. He was looking forward to his lesson with Jack, but when he knocked on the door, there was no response. So, he went around to the back of the house, walked down toward the pond, and found Jack standing knee deep in the water, pulling up lily pads.
“Good morning!” Dave called, and Jack waved a muddy hand. “I’ll be up in a few minutes; just let me finish with this patch,” he called.
Dave watched Jack reach down deep into the water with both hands, feel around for a bit, then pull up a long dark root. With it came several lily pads and flowers, all tied together by the tuber. Jack then threw them way up on the bank.
Pulling up the last bunch with its roots, Jack waded to the shore and dropped it on the bank. As Jack rinsed the mud off his hands at the edge of the pond, Dave asked, “Why don’t you just pull off the pads and flowers instead of messing with those ugly, muddy roots?”
“Because lily pads are like sin,” answered Jack. He paused, enjoying Dave’s look of bewilderment. “Just like sin, lily pads are attractive to look at: beautiful, graceful white flowers floating among lovely green leaves. But they are destructive. If left unchecked, lily pads will fill the whole pond, choking out other plants and animals. And under those beautiful flowers and leaves hide ugly things: slime, bloodsuckers, worms and snakes, to name a few!”
Jack leaned down and picked up one of the roots he’d thrown up on the bank. He held it up, a dark, gnarled, muddy tuber with long, white ugly stringers hanging from one side, and on the other the slime-covered stems ending in leaves and flowers.
“Look at this. Like the root of sin, it’s ugly. See what it’s done to my hands?” Jack held up his free hand, stained a dark purple from the roots. “The last time I did this, one of my fingernails got infected from working with these. And smell this!” He held the root up toward Dave’s nose. Dave pulled back as the odor of rotting mud and slime assailed his nostrils.
“Just like the stench of sin uncovered,” said Jack, throwing the root back on the ground. “And like sin, unless you remove it far from where it was growing, it will re-root and grow again. That’s why I’ve thrown these way up on the bank where there is no moisture to help them stay alive.”
“Look at this.” Jack held up a stem growing from the root; it was coiled up like a telephone cord. “This young stem was below the surface, slowly straightening out to bring its leaf to the surface. If I’d just picked off the leaves and flowers I could see, within a short time this young leaf would have been up on the surface to replace them, keeping the plant healthy and strong.”
Dave stood thinking on what Jack had said. “It’s like confessing in layers, isn’t it?” he said. “If you only get rid of the pads and flowers, not the stem, the shoots and the root, it’s going to grow right back!”
“Good application,” said Jack as he turned and walked up to toward the shed, where he turned on the hose to wash the mud off his hands and bare feet. “Confession in layers is the only effective way to root sin out of our lives. And as you read chapter 16 [in “EQUIPPED!”], you’ll see how to apply this to a very specific and significant area of your life.”