Sin in our lives is not something we can ignore, set aside, or postpone. It doesn't become static. Unless we are actively, daily working to eradicate it, sin will take over. Fr. Michael, priest of the Holy Nativity Orthodox Church in British Columbia gives us a vivid picture of how sin can easily spread and flourish.
Sin is a little bit like Sequoia Blackberry bushes. It’s an invasive species that takes over, yet because of the sweet berries, you let it. But the berries are only there for a few weeks, and the thorny bush it there all year. At first you decide you can live with the thorns. You try to avoid and ignore the thorny parts and think longingly about the next season of sweetness. And each spring the bush grows several feet larger.
Then one day you realize that your whole life is organized around the thorn bush. You say to yourself, “I’ve got to do something about this.” But you don’t. And the bush continues to grow. And finally you get so sick of this thorn bush taking over your life that you attack the bush with sheers and shovel. You cut it back. You dig up as much of the root as you can. You bleed and sweat and win--for a moment.
But it’s not over. Like sin, no matter how much you fight it, it still keeps coming back. Mercifully, fighting second growth is much easier than battling an established bush, if you don’t get lazy. If you dig it out as soon as you see a new shoot, it’s easy and only takes a minute. You can even grab it with a bare hand near the root and pull (but it does get your hand dirty). If you get lazy, if you say, “I’ll get it tomorrow; I don’t want to get my hand dirty right now.” Watch out! Before you know it the sweet taste of August black berries is calling your name and you are saying to yourself, well maybe a small thorn bush is not so bad...