I still remember my encounter with a woman in the laundry detergent section of the store.  Without any prompting from me, she began to tell me that she was the mother of two baseball players and had found the best way to get stains out of their white baseball pants.  Her method consisted of using a combination of preferred products, used in a certain order and applied in particular ways.  She went on to share the laundering tips she’d gotten from other ‘baseball moms’ and was proud to have combined the best of these tips to achieve the best process for cleaning her sons’ soiled pants.   This all seemed confusing and complicated to me! 

Well, friends, like our laundry, we often bear stains, too.  The stains we bear are usually those of our sins.  Other times they’re stains of shame for events that might not even have been our fault, times when we’ve been victimized by others.  When faced with these stains, we’re often like the woman in the grocery store and seek ways to bleach, scrub, and blot them out.   Some of us do so with denial, or try to forget and go on with our lives.  Others might successfully hide the original stains, but then live with the stains of  guilt, shame and sometimes anger or resentment.  These feelings often lead to other sins, adding to the stains we bear.

Billy Graham tells a story about cleaning white garments, too.  He remembers, as a boy, when his mother took him out to the clothes line where their laundry was hanging outside to dry.  She showed him the different shades of white items.  Despite her best cleaning efforts, none of the items were perfectly white.  Then she told him there was a way for us to become whiter than snow, and reminded him that God can remove all our sins leaving us as white as snow. 

Mrs. Graham was likely referring to the words of Isaiah, the prohet of God who encourages us with the following words in Isaiah 1:18-20: “Come now let us argue this out,” says the Lord.  “No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it.  I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow.  Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you as white as the wool.  If you will only obey me and let me help you…I, the Lord, have spoken!”

The methods by which we seek to remove the stains of our sins are often similar to those described by the woman I met.  We try to absolve our stains by the methods suggested by others, making things confusing and complicated,  instead of going straight to the Lord who can wash our sins away with just the simple offering of our hearts to Him in prayer. 

Dear Lord, Yes!  We hear You and want You to remove the stains of our sins.  We want to obey You and offer our hearts to You so that You can help us.  Thank you, God, for loving us so much that You want to remove our stains and make us as white as snow, so that we can be fresh and new, bringing glory to You.  Amen.