May 12, 2016

Laundry Lessons from the Lord

I will try not to make every post I write about laundry, but the Lord has really used all of this hand washing to teach me. I decided to share some of what I've learned here. . .

In America, I was happily able to hide many of my sins and shortcomings in the comfort of my own home. When I was impatient with my kids, or lazy, or not prudent to correct and discipline as I should, or just plain in a bad mood, I could hide in my home . . . and when I was in public, I would just pretend that nothing had happened. I'm sure I'm the only one who has ever done this . . . right?

Well, when we arrived in Mexico we moved into a beautiful casita that happens to be situated right next door to the classroom where the entire staff and all of the students gather each morning to worship and study for 4 hours. Did I mention that here in Mexico the climate is so lovely there are not AC units or heaters. Nope. Everyone just opens their windows and lets the freshness blow right on in. Which is great. . . unless you're home with 5 calm, quiet, happy, obedient, loving, gentle children who probably shouldn't disturb the important teachings going on next door :) Further, I never know when someone might knock on the door, or be standing by my window, or listening to the lovely conversation we may be enjoying inside ;) Suffice it to say my comfort blanket didn't make it with me to Mexico. All of my character defects are on full display. Honestly, when we first arrived, I was pretty humiliated humbled by us. We weren't being very nice to each other, to put it mildly.

The good Lord is cleaning us. Praise Him for it!! That's why we came here after all. For Him to teach us and mold us into who he wants us to be, so that we may be usable to Him. The first step for us was a good cleansing.

When He did, He didn't just ignore all the stains and throw us into the machine. He spot treated, scrubbed those spots, turned us inside out, covered us over with soap and began to scrub.
Up and down and up and down the washboard we went. Sometimes it left us in tears, sometimes it was kind of fun, definitely it was embarrassing.  I'll tell you the water that He rinsed off of us wasn't clear my friends. But I wonder, if He didn't take the time to clean us . . . would we really even be His.

I mean, I don't clean the clothes of people who aren't my people. I don't wash things that don't belong to me. If you've never felt the Lord working you over and scrubbing your sins away, are you sure you belong to Him? Does He know you enough to take the time to scoop you up and gently wash your sins away?

I also wonder, are His belongings that aren't clean valuable to Him?

If something in my house is unclean, I consider it unusable. I don't eat on dirty dishes, or cook in dirty pans. I don't wear dirty clothes, or sit in dirty chairs. I avoid dirty things. However, the things I use the most are the things I clean the most. After I have cleaned and cared for something, then it feels more mine than it did before. When the Lord cleans us, He makes us usable to Him. He is cleaning us for a purpose. We don't know what it is yet, but that doesn't matter. He knows what it is, and that brings us comfort.

Another point the Lord has revealed while I scrub the clothes is this: things can't clean themselves. My clothes can't remove their own stains. My floors can't mop themselves. They are at my mercy. Either I care for them, or I don't. Similarly, I do not have the power to make myself clean in the eyes of the Lord. I simply am incapable. But when I yield to Him, He cares for me.

Being the one on the washboard is uncomfortable, but it's worth it. If I were to continue to hide under my comfort blanket and pretend that all of my faults weren't there, or if I were to just explain them away, they would never actually go away. I'd never be free from them. The Lord tells us to confess our sins to each other, not to hide them away.

"Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? 
Who may stand in His holy place? 
He who has clean hands and a pure heart
Who does not lift up his soul to another, 
     or swear by what is false. 
He will receive blessing from the Lord.
And vindication from God His savior. 
Such is the generation of those who seek Him, 
Who seek your face, O God of Jacob. "
               Psalms 24: 3-10

"Lord, if you are willing you can make me clean  . . . "
"I am willing . . . be clean" 
               Matthew 8:2

"How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the Eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished before God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God." 
               Hebrews 9:14

Church, ask the Lord to cleanse you from your acts that lead to death. We all have them. None is without sin. And none is with excuse, because He is willing. Let yourselves be cleansed before the time is gone. 

" Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your steadfast love;
according to your abundant mercy
blot out my transgressions. 
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity,
and cleanse me from my sin!

For I know my transgressions, 
and my sin is ever before me. 
Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight, 
so that you may be justified in your words
and blameless in your judgement.
Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, 
and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being,
and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have broken rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, 
and uphold me with a willing spirit.

Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God,
O God of my salvation, 
and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips,
and my mouth will declare your praise. 
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Do good to Zion in your good pleasure;
build up the walls of Jerusalem;
then will you delight in right sacrifices,
 in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; 
then bulls will be offered on your altar. "
               Psalms 51