While doing laundry one day, I pulled some clothes out of the washer and along with them, an ink pen. For some stupid reason, I pulled the cap off the pen, and some ink dripped on to my favorite pair of jeans.
I would love to say one of my kids or my husband was the culprit, but I can’t. It was a Sharpie pen, and I’m the only one who uses them. In fact, no one else is allowed to use them because they are my writing pens.
With 10 minutes before needing to leave, I take off my jeans and work to get the ink stain out. I put a towel inside the jeans behind the stain, take a wet cloth with some dish soap and start scrubbing. I prayed too. Seriously… my favorite pair.
Thankfully, the stain came out. The ink actually soaked into the towel. If I hadn’t put the towel inside, the back of my jeans would have absorbed the stain.
This potentially devastating incident reminded me of salvation for several reasons.
Salvation & Sin
My mistakes caused the stain.
I couldn’t blame anyone else. So often, we want to look for somewhere else to place blame. We try to avoid admitting we did anything wrong. This is pride. The stain on my jeans was my fault, I could not blame anyone else just like I cannot blame anyone else for the sin in my life.
Without Jesus absorbing my stains, I would just experience them in another part of my life.
Had I not put the towel in the pant leg, I would either have had to scrub the other side of my jeans or given them up as lost. Instead, the towel took on the stain and removed it from my jeans. Jesus does the same for us. He did it on the cross at Calvary. When we admit our sins and ask for forgiveness, he absorbs those sins, and we no longer have their stain on our lives. Sure, there are consequences, but we are still clean and spotless because Jesus washes us clean and makes us presentable again.
Acting quickly made all the difference.
If I hadn’t taken the time to get the stain out right away, the ink would have dried, and my favorite jeans would have become my work-around-the-house jeans. This equates to keeping short accounts in my spiritual life.
Sure, Jesus removes the stain of sin whenever we ask him to, but a stain’s imprint (i.e., the consequences) becomes more prominent the longer we allow it to remain in our lives. The sooner we ask for forgiveness, though, the longer we get to live without that stain. That’s also less time for consequences to wreak havoc. Doesn’t mean we won’t have to live with any consequences, but certainly the impact lessens the sooner we repent.
A Way Out
So often, sin happens because we don’t stop and think before acting. I just pulled off the cap. Going even further, I failed to take care of the pen in the first place. When we intentionally avoid situations that can lead to sin, more of our lives will remain stain-free.
I’m also thankful the pen fell out of the washer onto the floor and didn’t make its way into the dryer. Otherwise, a whole load of clothing may have gotten permanently stained. Likewise, God often gives us a way out of temptation (I Corinthians 10:13). We can avoid sin if we take that way out and rely on the Holy Spirit to lead us.