I don't really like germs. I am also not a fan of messes. Just ask my family. Now, I suppose I could be much worse, but the kids think I am pretty fanatical.
As much as I like "clean," I also like quick and easy. I like things clean, but I don't necessary want to be knee-deep in elbow grease.
One of my favorite cleaning tools (maybe because it is just. so. easy!) is our toothbrush sanitizer. Stick the brushes in, close the door, plug it in, and boom. A minute or so later, that blue light has zapped away all those germs. Yeah!
As much as my house needs to be cleaned, so too does my body, especially the inside. The outside gets sweaty after I work out. I feel it as soon as I start cooling down. So, I'll jump into the shower as soon as possible. Showers are great - quick and easy. All clean.
The inside is a lot harder. Some of the sin in there has been building for a week, or even a month. It gets pretty stuck, as I am so stuck in my ways, and it requires a lot of elbow grease to remove it.
During a recent communion, I once again asked God to clean me out, to remove ALL the dross, even though I know it will come back again. That word was even the one I used in my prayer - dross.
What a great word, dross. You can actually picture something slimy, dripping, disgusting, and messy. Since there is nothing good about sin, I felt that was a perfect term to use.
But one thing about drossy messes - they don't clean very easily. Think about some of the best meals we make. They are often easy to eat, but sticky or messy to make. I hate washing dishes. The pans from those great meals are almost always the worst. Sometimes they take days to clean, because they need to sit an soak for a while and then scrubbed several times before they can be declared clean.
This was the message that hit me during my prayer. Sin is a lot like those dishes. It takes a lot of work to get rid of sin. There isn't a nice, easy "zap" to get rid of it.
We often think that's all there is to it. Say our prayer of confession, and all the sin "magically" goes away, like the tooth brush zapper. That's because it seems so easy to us. Just like how my family can enjoy a yummy meal without ever thinking about the dishes, we can have our sin forgiven without remembering how it was done in the first place. The riddance of sin took a huge amount of effort.
But it was effort we never had to put forth, because we couldn't. The work that was done wasn't ours. Every sin was removed on the cross, and the cross was messy. We can't wash those dishes. We would never be able to scrub hard enough, use enough elbow grease, to be declared clean.
Of course we don't want to send our kids to bed with nightmares about Christ's crucifixion. It's scary enough for adults to really think about. It must be acknowledged, though, so we don't forget that sin is not forgiven because we prayed. Sin is forgiven because Jesus sacrificed Himself.
We rarely see a drop of blood in pictures of the cross. We sing about being washed white as snow, but often forget to talk about how hard Jesus had to scrub to achieve that whiteness for us. When we started, we were black as coal.
Jesus's suffering was painful. I don't mean to dwell there, but I think if we overlook exactly how hard Jesus worked for us, we will take it for granted. He suffered a night of torment, and then in the morning agonized the torture of the cross. His body was a bloody mess - almost as drossy as our insides. But when that torn-up, stabbed, spit-soaked, dehydrated, bloody, broken body was finally at its end, our wretched, despicable, sin-stained souls could be declared clean. His scourging was our scrubbing.
After eating a delicious meal, may you always remember the dross inside you that was scrubbed away, and never look at those dishes the same again.
Passion Under Grace,