Remember back to when you had your hands in something very dirty and smelly. You washed your hands numerous times with hot water and soap. They looked clean but when you smelled your hands they still smelled like whatever you were in. Were they clean or not? You weren’t sure were you? Does the remaining smell mean that the dirt is still there lingering?
If it bothered you enough, you put on some kind of scented mask – maybe perfume, cream, or scented soap. You thought if you could take away the smell, you might feel like you were finally clean.
Still not satisfied you got really drastic and went for the rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Now you have washed and killed anything lingering there.
As a child I often observed adult’s hands – I could tell if they were auto mechanics, farmers or painters by what was left on their hands and under their fingers. A man at church did auto body and his hands were a permanent mix of paint colors. Were his hands clean or were they just stained? Is there a difference?
How is your heart? Is it clean? Really clean? Or is there a lingering smell from a previous sin? Is it stained or is it dirty? Do you try to clean it but not “feel” clean? What will it take to get clean? And then stay clean? Will you get it clean only to get dirty again?
A friend recently blasted God as a failure. With many unclean words he described a God that allowed a world to spin into death and destruction. I dialogued with him about it trying not to be too preachy. He is obviously searching for answers and hasn’t been able to find any. He is searching for peace but living in chaos. I am praying for him to find the one cleansing that can give him that peace.
Matthew 23:25 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.