When my husband and I bought our house at the end of the year, one of the main drawbacks to it was that the former owners were smokers. Fortunately, most of their smoking was done in the garage. Unfortunately, that means our garage stinks like crazy. Years worth of nicotine stains the walls and permeates every surface of the room. Have you ever tried to clean nicotine out of a wall? My husband I started the process this week since he's been on spring break. Our first step is to go over the walls with a vinegar/water solution. As the cleaner does its magic, you can literally see the brown seeping from the drywall and running down in streaks until we catch it with our rags and sponges. Sure, it's making the whole garage smell like vinegar, but if I had my "druthers," I'd rather smell vinegar than cigarette smoke. Of course, we're using gloves and trying to not let much of it touch our skin. We don't want the nicotine to go from the walls into our bodies. That's no better, at all.
Of course, walls aren't the only things in our life that can get stained. My children seem to excel at making random stains on their clothes, and there's always a pen mark somewhere on my husband's shirts. If you work with certain nuts or berries, your fingers can get stained for a while. My daughter delights in wondering if her lollipop has stained her tongue a wonderful purple, and always runs to the mirror to see. Rugs can get stained. Leftover containers get stained. Food can get stained. Teeth can get stained -- I'm a little amazed that mine aren't brown from my daily tea intake (gotta have my cuppa!).
But you know what else can get stained? Our hearts. Our souls. We take precautions to make sure we don't get too many stains in the rest of our life ... or that at least the stains don't last long. But what about the thing that matters most? Do we take precautions for that? What am I talking about? Just like the tar and nicotine built up over time on the walls of my garage, what if sin builds up over time in our lives? I imagine it leaves a nasty residue in there, creating this barrier that allows us to not notice as much when we dip into sin a little more. Watching something on television or in the movies that has some content that is bad, maybe you cringed the first couple of times you heard that language or noticed those scenes. But then, the next time, maybe you didn't even notice how many times a certain word was uttered or how much skin was exposed. Maybe you walk over to some friend at lunch and realize they're discussing a co-worker. You're uncomfortable at first, because you know you probably shouldn't be discussing someone not present, but they move on to the next topic, and you brush it off. A few more times, and you don't even feel squeamish anymore. You might even start participating.
See what I mean? When we allow even a little bit of sin into our life, it can build up quickly. We don't have a vinegar solution to clean the walls of our heart. We have something even better. Jesus paid the ultimate price so that we didn't have to. When we give our lives to Him, our baptism washes away every sin. Just remember the parable in Matthew 12:43-45, about the unclean spirit. The heart he was kicked out of was cleaned while he was gone, but wasn't filled with something better, so he brought a bunch of his friends and made the heart worse than it was before. If we don't keep our hearts clean and full of the goodness of God, we're just begging sin to take up residence. I don't know about you, but I don't want those kind of stains in my life.
This is a place for me to share thoughts and ideas not just related to writing. Thoughts about what's going on in my life, about an idea I got that I thought shareworthy, or just a funny anecdote.