Psalm 51:7, Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
In 2000 our son was in a High School play and was required to wear a pair of black pants. The director wasn’t concerned about the type of pants the actors wore as long as they were black. Our son wasn’t fond of wearing black during his high school days and we didn’t want to spend money on something that he wouldn’t wear. We took a pair of my faded out blue jeans and dyed them black for him to wear. A couple of months later, while packing for a mission trip to Nicaragua, I tossed the dyed jeans into my bag to wear while there.
A few days into our trip we were told that the women of the community would do laundry for us. Our ministry partners paid the laundry women a small amount for their efforts and I felt obligated to provide something for them to wash so they could make some money. As the community was still a disaster area, the only place the women had to wash laundry was to scrub the clothing against a rock along the bank of the river. (They hand washed everything.)
A couple of days later we found our laundered clothing folded and stacked on a couple of chairs where we were staying. I didn’t see my black jeans so I passed on by thinking I would ask about them later. An hour later all of the laundered clothing was gone with the exception of a pair of faded blue jeans. Thinking to myself, “they couldn’t be mine”, I picked them up and checked the size of the jeans; they were indeed mine.
I cannot imagine how long the women worked on that pair of dyed jeans to get all of the black dye out. I wonder what they must have thought as they labored to get all the coloring out of them while wondering what I had gotten myself into to get them that dirty.
Humans are born as slaves to sin and we get ourselves into some pretty nasty stuff from time to time. Many take steps towards moving away from destructive behavior but are unable to clean themselves of their sinful past and continued sinful behaviors. Only through Christ’s sacrifice, the surrender of his body, blood and life on our behalf, and his resurrection from the grave and ascension into heaven, can we be washed clean of our sinfulness.