I reached for the ink pen because it was the only pen nearby. I needed to underline some places on the book I was reading. I forgot and left the pen on my bed. I didn’t see the black ink stain that had formed on my light green bedspread until just before I slept.
I poured a little water on it from my water bottle and hoped that would dissolve it. But it didn’t – it actually spread it. I decided to wait until morning to clean the stain.
In the morning, I went downstairs and armed myself with what I had seen my host Mom use for all kinds of stains-the carpet cleaner. I had no doubt it would dissolve the ugly black stain. I sprayed some on the bed spread and went back downstairs to finish my bowl of cereal. Ran back upstairs confident that the stain would be gone. It was still there.
Now – my host mom had a vast array of cleaners – so I got something different. This product promised to work magic on the stains. So I sprayed some more and waited. Nothing happened. I decided a little water would help. So I washed the stain under running water and left it for a while. Nothing happened. I had two choices – to tell my host Mom, or put back the comforter and act like I didn’t know where the black ugly stain came from. I opted for the former.
Sheepishly, I dragged the heavy bedspread downstairs.
“Linda, I stained the duvet,” I said, half expecting her to get mad.
She came closer to observe the stain.
“Yuk,” she said, looking at the ugly black mark that stood out against the light green bedspread.
She lay it on the floor and got out some more cleaning products. She soaked. And scrubbed. And squeezed. I watched feeling guilty. She gave me a reassuring smile and told me I was more important than the duvet. But she also gently reminded me that if we had worked on it when it happened, it would probably not be so stubborn. We put all kinds of products on the stain – it still wouldn’t go away. She finally called the cleaners.
This incident reminded me of when we sin and try to clean up on our own. Oh- I will read my Bible. I will just go to church. I will play Christian music. We do everything but ask God to clean us. By the time we come to God, the sin is so stubborn and deeply entrenched in us that God has to clean and scrub. And sometimes it hurts. And any sin that is not washed will leave ugly marks in us. A sincere prayer of repentance once we realized we have sinned can save us a lot of trouble.
Psalms 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD “-and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Psalms 32:1 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.