What dirty stuff do you need to take to God’s laundry?
Growing up as the oldest of four kids, I do not remember doing my own laundry when I was a boy. Our mom was tireless about keeping the house clean and she had my two younger brothers and sister and me handling our chores daily and weekly. In time though, we each started doing our own laundry, which corresponded to when we could see over the top of the washer to put the detergent in along with our clothes.
I remember the first time cleaning out my wrestling gym bag after practice and the stench was awful. I recoiled from the smell and warily put the smelly clothes in the washer, wondering if there was any hope for them.
Periodically, our mom would take it upon herself to tackle our laundry. Coming home from college, I would drop off my dirty laundry bag in the basement and head out to see friends. I would return home to find my laundry washed, dryed, and folded, ready for use. “Mom,” I would ask, “I was going to do my laundry. Why did you go ahead and do it?”
She often replied, “I knew you wanted to see your friends. I don’t mind you bringing your dirty laundry home. After raising four kids, I don’t mind doing your laundry now and then, even the smelly stuff. There are no dirty clothes I cannot handle.”
Read Psalm 51.
I have learned to value the word, repentance. It means sorrow, remorse, shame, and penitence. David, the writer of Psalm 51, learned a lesson in shame and sorrow after some evil acts of his hurt people and God. David had a close friend call him out on some recent behavior that needed to be addressed. Coming to God in repentance is like bringing those dirty clothes home to wash.
All of us can remember a time or two where it was easy for us to get lazy about confessing the sin in our lives until it piled up high and reeked of self-centeredness and outright rebellion. Hopefully, we did not wait much longer to notice the smell and take it to God.
I remember a consistent refrain of mine: “Lord, here I am. I know it’s been a while since I came home and came clean before you. There is a lot of stuff in my life that is dirty and that needs cleansing. Some of it is in desperate shape and needs a deep washing that only you can handle. Some of it has a bad stain. Do you think you can handle it?” And God smiled and thought, “It’s about time. My kid is home again.”
Why do we always drag our feet after we run from God, knowing we need to return to Him for forgiveness and healing? When was the last time you thanked God for His forgiveness? How can regular confession and repentance strengthen your relationship with God?
It is normal for you and I to come to God with sin stains now and then. That’s why John wrote, “He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God is the master of laundering our lives after we mess up. Grow devotionally. Re-read David’s experience of forgiveness in Psalm 51. Be quick to own up to and confess your sin. Be willing to repent from that behavior (i.e., turn away from it). Then you can stand again spotless before the Father, washed clean and whiter than snow.
Love is a verb,
©2019 by Mike Olejarz