Inspiration from the Bathroom (Seriously)
Just a couple days ago I found myself in another one of my cleaning moods. I do this when I’m nervous, anxious, or when I just need something to keep my hands busy. As I crouched to scrub the bottom half of the toilet (so glamorous a task- I know!) I looked over into the corner between the toilet and the bathtub. ACK! The corner was disgustingly dirty! I must have forgotten to clean it out the last few times I performed this dastardly chore. The bathroom and I have a long-term oxymoronic relationship: I hate to clean it yet I cannot stand to use it unless it is clean. With the holidays and my sisters around well, there were more fun things with which to focus my attention. The ugly corner was such a small space, so easily overlooked (unless you’re my mom) yet at the same time needing just as much attention as the rest of the bathroom.
That little nagging corner got me thinking as I scrubbed the dirt away- how many dirty things are lurking in the corners of my own heart that I consider too small to be of importance? Yes, I’m working on the big things, the important mountains I must face in my life, but are there little flaws that are sitting in the corner just waiting to be cleaned out as well?
One Corner Cleaned
A prime example: Just yesterday I was talking on the phone with someone about running. When the other person assumed I had run outside in the snow rather than on the treadmill- I didn’t bother to correct them. It made me sound better to have them assume that, so why not? After I got off the phone, my mom challenged me. If I want God’s blessing on my life, then I need to have more integrity than that. She was so right! I felt convicted and immediately asked God to forgive me- because I do want his blessing. I want a life full of complete honesty and integrity. That was one dusty little corner that needed attention!
The Measure of Sin
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23
Let me begin by defining sin: We sin by either not doing what God requires of us or by doing what He has forbidden us to do. Sin can occur in one of three ways: thought, word, or deed. To God, all sin is equal- there is no “little white lie,” or “bending the truth.” He considers a small lie equal to betrayal or even murder! This does not mean sin is equal in seriousness however. Obviously there will be more consequences for someone who murders another. In Luke, he clearly states that there are different degrees of punishment:
Luke 12:47-48 (NLT)
47 “And a servant who knows what the master wants, but isn’t prepared and doesn’t carry out those instructions, will be severely punished. 48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.
Under His Grace
The good news underlying this conviction is that God will ALWAYS forgive us. He doesn’t ever hold grudges or play the petty games your friends might. He only requires a heart humble enough to come to him for grace.
Ephesians 1:6-10 (NIV)
6 to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. 7 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace 8 that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, 9 he[a] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.
According to Acts 2:21, this forgiveness is available to ALL who come to him.
I challenge you this week to examine your hearts, and clean out some of those small, dusty corners. Did you copy your homework from someone else? Did you call in sick to work so that you could go hang out at them mall with your friends? Did you blame that broken vase on the dog, knowing you were the one who knocked it over?
These things may seem small, but in God’s eyes, there are no gray areas. His law is clear- and we are either following it or against it. If you do mess up? No sweat- simply repent and ask God to help you the next time. We are all human- and we’re all going to fail at some point. What matters is how you react when you do.
Live your life with integrity and you will not be able to imagine how wonderful God’s reward is.