A lot of people try to hide the appearance of their hands these days. Months and months of applying hand sanitizer and using disinfectant wipes have taken its toll.
We of-course want sterile hands so we don’t get Covid-19 or spread it. But what happens if you forget to wash your hands one time out of twenty, one time out of fifty? Our attempts to have clean hands never stops.
Although we hide our hands, they’re always dirty. Truthfully, they’ve led us to places, we wish they hadn’t. They’ve embraced things we wish they hadn’t, and we’ve also let them cause pain for ourselves and others.
And then the denial when faced with what we did. A man named Jeremiah had the fun job of holding a mirror to the Israelites as discovered in the Old Testament. It seems wrong to call the Old Testament—“OLD” because it’s still relevant.
No wonder Jeremiah was regarded as the moody prophet. He delivered bad news, however truthful. “For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before Me,” says the Lord God.” (2:22, NKJV)
And if we venture into the New Testament to the book of Matthew, we find the snake of a man named Pilate. He thought he washed his hands of a situation even though his wife advised him to leave Jesus alone.
Matthew is the only book to include these verses, “Pilate saw that he wasn’t getting anywhere and that a riot was developing. So he sent for a bowl of water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. The responsibility is yours!” (27:24, NLT)
Hand-washing was a Jewish custom that signified the removal of guilt. But Pilate wasn’t innocent because of what he did. “He ordered Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip, then turned Him over to the Roman soldiers to be crucified.” (27:26, NLT)
The good news is there is hope because of Jesus’ sacrifice, if you admit to hiding your hands and also confess your actions.
In The Broken Way Ann Voskamp makes it refreshingly clear, “I am not the sins I have chosen; I am chosen by the Beloved, regardless of my sins. In Christ, I am chosen, accepted, justified, anointed, sealed, forgiven, redeemed, complete, free, Christ’s friend, God’s child, Spirit’s home.”
A part of Christendom I’ll never get is the modern church’s refusal to talk about sin after the cross. It gives the impression that sin no longer exists. Churches of yesteryear held revivals because Christians slid back into their old way of life. They needed reviving, as did the Israelites, as do we.
Jeremiah continues, “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot.” (3:6a, NKJV)
The late Simone Weil said, “Every sin is an attempt to fly from emptiness.”
So what’s the solution to a dirty heart, since our exterior actions to fix the situation won’t cut it. Jeremiah answers that question, “And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.”
If things do return to normal and churches re-open at full capacity, I wonder if the same “number” of people will return. Is “returning to church” the same as “returning to God”?
The expression, “Time always runs out on sin” haunts me and it should terrify all of us. For now, God has given us time to…Return to Him. And I also wonder how long that season will last.
pictures courtesy of pexel.com except for book cover: “Nelson & his Nikon”