Get rid of hidden stains

Published 3:07 pm Friday, September 7, 2018

White dress shirts are not one of my favorite choices in attire, although when they are new and clean they look nice.  The problem is that their bright appearance is easily tarnished, hence their useful life span can be quite short.  My wife does a good job keeping them in presentable condition as long as possible, but with the passing of time and exposure to various elements they eventually have to be replaced.

On one occasion as Gale and I finished our breakfast in a local eatery, I commented to a couple about how amazing it was that I had finished my breakfast without getting anything on the white dress shirt I was wearing.  Another time, as I rushed to have Sunday lunch so I could get to an early afternoon obligation, things did not turn out so well for me.  Once again, with a white dress shirt on, I was extra careful to keep my shirt unspoiled.  It seems that spotless garments attract impurities that spoil their attractiveness, and somehow I dropped a piece of food which was dipped in catsup; as chance would have it, it bounced around until it landed on my shirt sleeve, depositing a big ugly spot of the red condiment where it struck.  Thankfully I was able to hide it with my coat, but the spot was still there and had to be dealt with later.

Even when blemishes are hidden from immediate sight they still exist. 

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Unseen things can cause a lot of trouble.  I was reminded of that when a friend needed a ride across town.  As sometimes happens, debris had accumulated in the floorboard of my car and I hurried to get it up before he got in.  It was not a big cleaning project and only required a couple of minutes to finish, but in the process I did not realize that I had left the metal top of a peanut can in the mix.  I still remember that stinging sensation as the sharp edge of the can top slid across my finger and into my flesh.  And since I take a small dosage of aspirin every day the resulting flow of blood looked like I had suffered a major injury.  Just because something is hidden neither makes it nonexistent nor harmless. 

There are lots of things in our world that can easily contaminate and damage our spiritual lives and our most valuable relationships.  We need to take serious measures to avoid sin, but if we do fall to temptation and become spiritually defiled we must be careful not to simply cover up our wrongdoings as though they are not there, but we must take the proper steps to get rid of them so that purity of heart can be restored.  The psalmist David provided us with these heart searching thoughts as he called out to God for forgiveness:  “Who can discern his errors?  Forgive my hidden faults.  Keep Your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me.  Then will I be blameless, innocent of great transgression”  (Psalm 19:12-13, New International Version). 

When King David, one of the great men of the Old Testament, sinned miserably, he tried to hide his guilt.  After realizing that that was not the solution he acknowledged his sin and cried out to God and He graciously granted his request.  David wrote:  “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.  Hide Your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity”  (Psalm 51:7,9). 

Hiding sins does not make them go away, but confessing them and asking God for forgiveness is the solution.  Perhaps you need to do that right now.