The year we moved here, 1985, lightning struck a huge oak at the west end of our five acres. Sure that it would die, we planted two pecan trees nearer the house but still far enough away to provide shade late in the day when the sunlight tended to come in under the live oaks in our yard. Florida sun is brutal.
The oak tree survived and is now over 13ft around, about 4 ½ ft in diameter. It lost a limb and has a huge dead spot the size of an adult that goes up at least 20ft and which has partially scarred over with thick bark. But, in the right light one can see right through the tree as the opposite side has a smaller damaged area.
Most of us have been struck by sin, far more damaging than lightning. We have dead places in our hearts because we have covered the sin with callouses just as the tree grew bark to cover and strengthen the edges of the dead area. We pretend they are not there and if no one knows, well it is not so bad. I just pulled a chunk of dead wood out of the tree with my hand. Sin-dead areas of our hearts that are hidden still rot. Secret sins, acts we deny are sin, actions and thoughts we pretend are "just the way we are" and "I am doing my best" rot and putrefy.
God promised through Ezekiel, "“Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. " (Ezek 36:26). Anyone who has been through open heart surgery will tell you that it is painful. But those who have received a new heart must also take anti-rejection drugs the remainder of their lives. Spiritually, it is hard to confront the sins we hide from everyone. Some of these have become part of who we are! Repentance involves ripping out who we are and what we do and becoming a new man. Also, we must take anti-rejection doses of scripture, prayer and the exercise of self-control for the remainder of our lives. The body of our flesh tries to reject the new heart.
Do not be satisfied with covering over the scars of sin-struck lives. Become a new person.
"for he that hath died is justified from sin. But if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him; knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dies no more; death no more hath dominion over him. For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he lives, he lives unto God. Even so reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin, but alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey the lusts thereof: " (Rom 6:7-12).