It can be very difficult to describe biblical concepts. To describe the supernatural using natural words is certainly a challenge! So, when earthly things remind us of biblical concepts, a teachable moment can occur!
You’ve heard it said that “cleanliness is next to godliness.” While I find that nowhere in the Bible, I it does remind me of my favorite way to teach children (and adults) about forgiveness. Picture the grass-stained clothes shown on a commercial for laundry detergent. The stains are impenetrable, yet once the detergent is added and the clothes are washed, the clothes are sparkling white once again. When children play outside after a steady rain, and mud covers their lower extremities, it’s time to strip down for a bath. Once the dirty clothes are removed, and a bath is taken, all is clean again.
A few days ago, I went through a car wash. As my car was scrubbed (without me having to do any work), I was reminded of the forgiveness (cleanliness) that God provides to His children. Although I made the decision to take my car through the car wash, the scrubbing brushes, foamy bubbles, and spritzing water did the work. I sat back and watched as my car was clean again.
This washing is much like what God does for those who request His forgiveness. We ask God for forgiveness, and He does the work to make us clean. In fact, that work was done over 2000 years ago, when Jesus paid for our sins on the cross.
When our family moved, I searched for the best Laundry Room décor I could find. I finally decided to write this verse on the chalkboard in our laundry room: “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow,” Psalm 51:7 (NIV). This verse reminds me of the connection between cleanliness and forgiveness. Each time I wash stinky socks or load the washing machine with stained clothes, I am reminded that we serve a God who forgives. He makes us clean!
So, the next time that your child emerges from soccer practice with grass-stained clothes or comes home with a juice-stained shirt, use it as a teachable moment. Talk about the forgiveness found in Jesus and how his payment for our sins makes us as white as snow!