If you cruise my closet, you will see a section of white blouses. Whenever I shop I find myself migrating toward the white blouses in the store. I confess I love white and I probably…NO! I do have too many white blouses. I think I like them so much because they go with everything. I like that clean look.
For the last two weeks I have been working to get an orange-looking stain out of the front of one of my favorite and fairly new white cotton blouses. I first used the “Tide pen” and soaked it in cold water overnight…to NO avail…the stain was still there. Next, I used an Oxi-clean stain remover and soaked it in cold water for four days….to NO avail. Next, I used a special Zap-it stain remover…and soaked it for four more days in cold water…to NO avail.
Finally I decided to use bleach. Yes, I took the old reliable strong Clorox bleach and poured it over the stain. Put the blouse in cold water and left it for several days. When I went back to look at the blouse, the stain was totally gone. The smell of bleach was strong but PTL the stain had disappeared.
As I took the wet blouse and put it in the washing machine to wash the smell out, I thought to myself…why didn’t I do this in the first place…pull out the Big Gun (Clorox)? I have had much experience with stains by age 54, having raised two boys even though our daughter seemed to get just as dirty with many stubborn stains. Sometimes stains worse than the boys made after she started wearing make-up.
I have learned many stain removing secrets and you can now google to find all kinds of solutions. Just recently I learned a new one. A dress designer whom I love and respect, Gregg, made Collins’ wedding gown. He gave us a small square of “silk cloth” and told us, “When you go to make your bridal portrait and for some reason get a smudge of make-up or dirt on your dress, do not put water on it. Just take this piece of silk and rub gently on the spot…”
Of course, as the story goes and the foreshadowing of Gregg (experience was speaking and we didn’t even realize it), after the bridal portrait, we had to pull out the “silk swatch.” Sure enough…the make-up came right out. Wow! just Wow!
Where am I going with this?
The stain of SIN.
We all sin. We all are stained! WE all are in need of the “Clorox” in our lives. Jesus is the “Big Gun.” The ultimate stain remover. His shed blood covers us when we humble ourselves before the Lord. James 4:19, “Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up.”
When I watch my favorite TV show, ”Forensic Files,” I am utterly amazed that a criminal can clean up a “blood scene,” and even use the “Big Gun” of bleach yet a special light can be cast making the residue of blood easily seen…even after bleach clean up and attempted cover up!
As humans it is hard to forget other’s sins against us especially when we have been hurt. We are human. It takes much prayer and beseeching of a Holy God to cleanse our hearts and minds. But Jesus is a whole different matter. HE can and will forgive our sin as “far as the east is from the west”…and remember it no more as soon as we humble ourselves and ask.
I praise God for that. Yes, there is NO residue when we repent to a Holy God. Note here: that does not mean there are no consequences to our sin. The old saying ”we can choose our sin but we can’t choose the consequences” is absolutely true! WE do reap what we sow.
Back to sin. I get very frustrated when I have recurring sin…committing the same sin over and over. I have had to ask myself, ”Am I truly repentant?” This has been an area I am camping in…much of it has to do with my tongue and realizing that before the words are on my tongue, they are in my mind. Thus, I am having to sit very still and very quiet and asking God to take out His “ultraviolet light” and shine it on the things I have tried to clean up/cover up…so that HE and I can get to the “source” of the problem…realizing that “sin” starts in the heart/mind…before it is ever acted out.
I am finding myself having to “walk away” or “fall dead silent” in the midst of conversations…in order to STOP IT!! To turn from it. I look rather odd at times when I do this….but I am determined to CHANGE. I realize that I’m not going to get this perfect but I can PERFECTLY work on it. James 4:7-8 teaches, ”Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil and he will flee. Come near to God and He will come near to you…”
Just the other week, on a Friday night, I was able to stop and walk away. I was extremely tempted in a tense situation but there was victory. God helped me to walk away before my tongue/sin could take over. The very next morning, after that victory, I failed miserably, allowing my tongue to “go wild” on someone I love dearly, my dad. I was provoked and had no self-control.
I said/wrote a couple of weeks ago that I was going to be strong and very transparent…I am!
FYI….. When you are working on something, sin in your life, with God…you can be guaranteed that you will be TESTED. God will allow the “tests.” That is the only way in which that ultraviolet God light can shine on where we are and how we are doing. My “fail” drove me straight to my knees then it took me to my dad to ask for forgiveness. As usual my dad was gracious. He apologized too. He was so sweet. I love my dad!! We both love Jesus…and we both were wrong!
In this particular situation, I think my dad would say he was in the wrong in what he said and did. It drew fierce anger from me that caused me to lash out (two wrongs never make a right. My dad taught me that too!).
Shortly after, God convicted my heart. Even though I didn’t start it. Even though my anger came from hurt and caused me to lash out, God brought to my attention the years of the good of my dad. His unconditional love for me. His care of me. His love for my family and others. Even though my anger was justified, my actions were not. SIN.
I had two tests. One night I passed and the next day I failed. It is like shooting “5 under on the front 9” and “shooting 10 over on the back 9.” Needless to say, I am now memorizing scripture that tells me what the Bible says about the tongue.
God’s word says, “hide My word in your heart…so that you might not sin against Me.” I have decided that if I memorize, then when I am tempted, or tested, God will bring the scripture to my mind because I have hidden it in my heart. It gives me a much better chance for victory.
At 54 it is quite embarrassing to reveal how much work I need in this area. It amazes me and crushes me that the same tongue I share the gospel of Jesus Christ with can also commit murder.
My hopes with this post is to encourage you to “seek to be cloroxed.” It is not comfortable and the smell from the bleaching can be unpleasant. But the result? Well, I have enjoyed wearing my “new white blouse” again. I even received some compliments while wearing it.
The same can be true as we allow God to Clorox areas in our life that have continual stains. He not only can get the stain out but when we surrender and get serious, He can help us have “fewer stains.”
I love this scripture. James 1:25, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and CONTINUES in it—-NOT FORGETTING what they have heard, but doing it—-they will be blessed in what they do” [emphasis mine].
Memorizing really helps in the not forgetting part. It also helps you not just hear or read, but DO IT. When you do that, blessings are a promise! The smell and bleaching are worth it.
“To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” ~C. S. Lewis