by Mary Pat Johns, Victoria Advocate, 09/05/21
My daughter is an enormous fan of letting her three daughters play outside. So they get the vitamins they need from sunshine. So they don’t get overly concerned about hot temps. So they aren’t constantly underfoot in the house, and she has a modicum of peace. One of the draws about their first home in New Braunfels was a small playscape in the backyard. The girls loved climbing the mini rock wall, sliding down the slide, and playing on the “second story.”
One day when she shooed them outside, the two older ones found some old paint—the okay-to-play-with, water-color variety. Even though they started painting the playscape, it quickly morphed into painting themselves. Since the dominant color was green, they resembled fairies in camouflage. Mud, grass, and leaves rolled into the coating as well.
In short, they were quite dirty. Not at all their cute little put-together selves, but once they’d had baths and gotten clean again, hugs abounded.
When my husband gets super sweaty with construction work or when he works outside, he looks forward to a shower. Even our little black dachshund, who likes to roll on dead critters that make him smell terrible, enjoys an occasional bath. We have to trick him, though, because he’ll run and hide when he hears the water running. Nevertheless, he adores the end result of feeling clean.
Most of us are pretty good about taking care of the outside, but what about the inside? Not so much. Scripture says God looks on the heart. Not our physical hearts, although He cares about those too, but our spiritual nature. Another way to say it would be—how’s our character doing? Do we stay mad and resentful over things? Are we good forgivers? How do we treat people? These are the kind of things that concern God. His perspective is different from ours.
Scripture also says God is intimately acquainted with all our ways. In other words, we can’t hide anything from Him. He’s all-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. Unfortunately, we tend to think if we ignore the bad things we do or the bad thoughts we dwell on, God will ignore them too. Whenever that situation occurs, we’ve only fooled ourselves.
God desires a relationship with us—but He’s God. We have to do it his way. The good news is that He’s already made a provision for the things we do wrong, the things that keep us separated from Him. Jesus Christ has already paid the price for us. And He says, “If we confess our sin, he’s faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us from all wickedness.” (1 John 1:9)
Following that line of thought, one might say, “Confess to who?” First, we confess to God since He’s the only one who can make us clean again. Not easy, but it can be impressive how light we feel once it’s done. Or we simply have to walk in the knowledge of His forgiveness because feelings are notoriously unreliable. Other times, we may need to ask someone’s forgiveness. Never an easy task, but it sure helps keep relationships intact.
Actually, it should relieve us that God has promised to make us clean (on the inside) if we do our part. He says, “Come now, let’s settle this. Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” (Isaiah 1:18) It doesn’t matter how big, how bad, or how long we’ve done it. God can make us perfectly clean if we’re willing.
Always and forever, He’s God.