Life Pimples

April 1, 2022 by  
Filed under Christian Life, Family Focus

By Jane Thornton –

The mirror confirmed my fears. I had a zit on my chin. Nasty and inflamed. But not yet rupturable. Which didn’t stop me from worrying at it, trying to make it disappear. The monstrosity had birthed itself just in time for the holidays—and, thus, pictures.

I first noticed the zit’s arrival in the car on our trip to my parents’ house. A little discomfort drew my questing fingers to my jaw. The spot reacted to my touch with nervy tenderness. I tried a discreet look in the visor mirror. I knew better than to draw the ruthless attention of my teenaged children. In the dim car light, I pretended to get a stray dust particle out of my eye while casting concerned glances at the lower half of my face.

I’m not sure what gave me away. Perhaps shielding my jaw line while craning backward to answer a simple question about when we’ll get there looked unnatural. Whatever, my family pounced. Did I say family? Yes, not just my children, but my adoring husband joined in the laughter disparaging my anxiety.

So I gave in and pleaded for reassurance that the blemish was not too obvious. Their snickers belied their wide-eyed, soothing words. As soon as we pulled into the driveway, I rushed through the greeting hugs and scuttled to the bathroom.

No comfort there. The blotch glared angrily, dominating my features. Vainly, I doctored. Time and healing would have to run their course. With sheepish self-awareness, I returned to the living room to re-embrace my folks.

Only to be met by ridicule.

My son and daughter each had big, red dots under their laughing mouths. Even my husband had taken a turn with the lipstick tube. His eyes gleamed with humor above his spot-enhanced chin. I screeched in ultimate betrayal when I took in my mother’s giggles over her own fake zit.

What could I do but turn a good sport, grin, and bear it—and, of course, take a picture to record their cruelty for posterity? However, I did experience an odd relief at their acknowledgement of my condition. No more hiding. Everyone had seen the sore and laughed and moved on. Why was it funny? Because they had all experienced the same thing before and could relate to my worries.

Could we do the same with our spiritual pimples? Instead of concealment and shame, could we recognize each other’s sins and flaws and deal with them openly? “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).

No one would assume we were bragging about a skin blemish by admitting its presence. Everyone would know we hated it and planned to treat it vigorously. We might even get suggestions for effective remedies.

The analogy breaks down a bit at the mockery. There is room for shared amusement at our mutual imperfections, but none for derision. We don’t want to laugh at sin, but we can laugh with the joy of forgiveness and the ability to come clean and move forward, supported by our family who also claims God’s grace.

Comment prompt: Do you have a story of an awkward moment reclaimed by laughter?

About Jane Thornton

Jane Thornton, English teacher, wife, and mom of two almost grown children, strives to break free of the automatic boring label attached to those roles. Her two suspense novels eagerly await a willing publisher, and her articles search for inspiration in the humor and tears of life.
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2 Responses to “Life Pimples”
  1. Oh my goodness, Jane — you make me feel so much better! I have SO been there, done that!! And yes — don’t those zits just zero in on the absolute worst time to raise their ugly heads? But I’m really moved by the show of love from your family. Were they being oh-so-clever? Yes. But they were also sharing your pain and helping you laugh at your embarrassment.

    And on a seriously practical note, the tie to sharing our soul-zits with others is brilliant. Thank you for a memorable and helpful post.

  2. linda glaz says:

    What a wonderful analogy? And what a fun family!

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