Followers of Christ are dirty dishes.
Yep, every single one of us has been a nasty, crummy, smelly dish.
And I’ll tell you why.
Memaw slaved away at the kitchen today. She has this precious habit of turning her whole entire house into a smoking-hot oven every time someone comes over so that she can provide a feast of flavorful foods: chicken, cheese, and rice casserole, green beans, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, biscuits, cantaloupe, and pineapple.
I couldn’t wait to devour everything sitting before my eyes. My stomach had been growling, and I knew what delectable, savory goodness waited in store. I must have eaten three helpings of that casserole, and I stuffed those potatoes and carrots in my mouth so quickly I could barely swallow before I was chewing the next bite.
That’s the fun part, isn’t it? Eating the food and tasting every hint of salt and pepper speckled on your tongue. At Thanksgiving, at Christmas, at 4th of July cookouts, and birthday celebrations–no matter the occasion, most of the time, our first reaction is either wondering what kind of food we will be eating or getting excited over the ham and turkey we know is coming in our near future. We even wear our “fat-pants” because we know it’s about to go down.
But you wanna know what the not-so-fun part of it all is?
Cleaning up the kitchen after it’s all over. Picking up all the plates and utensils, throwing away all the trash, wiping down counters, sweeping up floors, and scrubbing all the dishes which sometimes look like they’re stacked a mile high.
I offered to do those dishes today. Memaw worked so hard, and she deserved to have someone take over and do the dirty work. Now, I usually don’t mind doing dishes. When I was younger, I loved asking Mom to do them, and I’d get myself a step-stool, roll my sleeves up, and wash.
It was like playtime because who doesn’t love splashing around in bubbles? This time, and pretty much every other time I’ve washed dishes as a teenager/young adult, I hated it. I didn’t hate it because it was a chore I had to do. I didn’t hate it because it took up my time. I hated it because of all the crud and mucky water.
As I was going through the dishes and wiping them down in the sink, I noticed bits of food stuck on the forks and knives. I noticed the pots still had residue from the various items of today’s menu.
Just when I thought I had cleaned the fork or knife to perfection, I realized I had missed yet another spot. At one point, all the suds had popped and dissolved, and I had to empty the gross water out of the sink, refill it, and keep washing. But I didn’t stop until everything was spick and span. Why? Because I love my memaw, and I wanted her to know it.
All of this got me thinking, though.
If we let dishes sit long enough or use them over and over without washing them, imagine how slimy and slick those utensils would get. Let me tell you, the dishcloth wasn’t so pretty either.
Isn’t it interesting how we sometimes enjoy ourselves in life but we don’t always go back and clean up our messes? We don’t face the music and make everything right again? Instead, we get into this routine of letting our hearts and minds get a bit junky, and then we turn our heads and keep moving, ignoring the disaster.
All the while, we’re letting new gunk pile up on top of the old gunk until it’s repeated so much that it’s all caked onto us and it feels like we’re passed the point of no return, like there’s no hope of getting out of it all.
Gunk can stand for anything; it can be hatred, bitterness, self-loathing, drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, porn, lying, cheating, swearing, the list goes on. Whatever it is that keeps you bound, that’s your gunk. Whatever you keep doing that leaves you empty still, that’s your gunk.
Whatever you have to question in your life, even when a small voice tells you it’s wrong, that’s your gunk. Whatever you’re worried about getting caught with, that’s your gunk. And Satan has you believing that all those choices are riches and treasures. You just let the gunk build till it’s a mile high because you try to fill the void with more. I know…because I’ve done it.
Thankfully, there’s good news. As I scrubbed each dish, I was reminded that God never gives up on the grit. He uses as much time as He needs in our lives to set us right again if we let Him get down to business, and He doesn’t mind working through the nastiest, foulest gunk to do it, rubbing away at every edge of our lives.
Isaiah 64:6 tells us that we are all dirty things filled with sin and that even our best days (our righteousness) are as filthy rags. Consequently, John 3:16 tells us that God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, because He loves us so much and wanted us to know it. He wanted to make a way for our salvation, out of the gunk, and into His family and Kingdom. Jesus Christ. Lord and Savior. Lion and Lamb who was slain so that His blood could wash over us and make us clean and shiny again.
He dug through all my pain, my anger, my shame, my sadness, my emptiness, my sin–the stuff that had piled on for years because I couldn’t clean it up myself–disgusting, gruesome sin, and He made me whole again, as pure and white as snow. And He has done that for all of you if you will just surrender and ask Him into your heart.
If He already lives in your heart but you find yourself getting weighed down by your crud, by your sin, you can always re-surrender and allow the Lord to do some housecleaning in your life! If He doesn’t live in your heart yet, it is never too late to invite Him in so He can begin cleansing you from the inside-out, showing you just How much He loves you.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on lifeofthebeautifullybroken.wordpress.com
Featured Image by Jasmin Schreiber