Do You Ever Feel Like Your Life Needs a Stain Remover?
Ever Feel Like Your Life Needs a Stain Remover?
This week, things I've seen and heard have made me want to cry. I know many people don't like the word sin. It is a "trigger word." It upsets people. So why am I using it?
I can't get a line from an old hymn, "Sin Has Left a Crimson Stain," out of my head. As I travel, I see the ravages of "sin" that reminds me of the destruction left by whirling tornadoes. Adult children, openly rebelling against the religious teachings of their childhood, report how miserable or disappointed they are with their lives. Parents sob as they describe concerns about their wandering children. Drug addicts, prostitutes, and alcoholics wander the streets hollow eyed and wasting away. Infidelity tears apart a marriage and stains everyone touched by it.
Some are aware that the crimson stain of sin is the source of their suffering and others are not. Often, their misery goes back to a single decision, event, or trauma where they compromised or deliberately decided to go against something they thought they believed. The progression began with the intellectualizing of faith, which shuts out the tender voice of the Holy Spirit. Phrases like "there are many Bible translations so we don't know what the Bible meant" or "It is 2014 after all - times are different" steals from them the potentially healing words of the Bible. Next is rejection of faith and lurking right around the corner is misery from the crimson stain.
As they talk with me, their jaws set as in preparation for my argument, which they are not going to get. We've all sinned and fallen short. My own sin left crimson stains on me. No one but Jesus could wash them out, no matter how hard people who loved me tried. No intellectual argument or Bible scripture could make me accept my behavior as sinful until I was ready to turn from it and ask the only real stain remover to be washed white as snow. When I was younger, my favorite sin was a popular one - gluttony. The practice of it is a source of humor even though the joke is about a sin that the Bible says is better to slit your own throat than commit. Sin destroys lives and breaks hearts.
The entire line of the song is "Sin has left a crimson stain. He washed me white as snow." It is about me proclaiming my own personal freedom from sin - not labeling others a sinner.
So what is my reaction when I see sin? I no longer take out my branding iron to burn the word "SINNER" on people or insist they wear a scarlet letter around their neck. That only enables sinners to blame "Christian narrow-mindedness" on their misery instead of the crimson stain that desperately needs the best stain remover available. I've tried helping people wash it out. I didn't want my oldest son David suffering from crimson stains so I tried to protect him from the natural consequences of his sin. I'm a lousy stain remover, so it postponed him accepting the fact that sin was the source of his misery.
That only leaves love as my reaction to sin... and love leaves me brokenhearted by what I see. God is love. Love is the only effective weapon against sin. We have good news - Jesus is waiting to wash people white as snow. It isn't the word "sin" people dislike - it is the nasty crimson stain it leaves. The word reminds us of the fact that sin stains. All sin stains - regardless of how big or little we consider it - and all have sinned. God told us in the Bible not to sin because, like me with my son David, He didn't want his beloved children stained crimson. We sinned anyway and broke His heart. He loved us so much, that He sent the only true stain remover to die on the cross for sinners like us. While His blood was making a crimson stain on the ground, He was there waiting to wash us white as snow. I pray for you to let Him.
Cheryle M. Touchton is the Director of Pocket Full of Change Ministries. For more information or to schedule a speaker for an event, go to
www.pocketfullofchange.org or call Cheryle Touchton at 904-614-3585.
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