We’ve just had the carpet cleaners in to shampoo the carpets and clean the chairs in the church. It was a pretty big job and took quite a while.
I think there’s something therapeutic about the deep washing of carpets because as you go, you throw out buckets and buckets of mud and grime that have accumulated over time. Then when you think you’ve finished and go over it again, there’s still more.
Yet, before you do that you can walk over the carpet on a regular basis and not even be aware of the dirt that has been ground in to it. The carpet doesn’t necessarily look all that dirty, but the process of cleaning drags that dirt out and the buckets of muddy water that are thrown out are evidence that the carpets were probably dirtier than you thought.
We proceed through life every day, and we’re generally not aware of the dirt that accumulates in our life. I’m not talking about the dirt we get on our hands and feet, but the dirt that accumulates on our minds and in our very being.
As we watch television shows about crime and violence year after year, we become a little bit immune to it. Things that may have shocked us a few years ago don’t shock us any more. We enjoy relaxing in front of the TV to see comedians or to watch comedy, but over time discover that we laugh at things that once we thought were crude or inappropriate.
Little bits of dirt have accumulated on our minds, and we’re not aware that its there, But it builds up bit by bit and over time we don’t notice that we’re a little bit grubbier than we were before.
There was a time when you avoided people who told dirty jokes, you were more careful in the way you drove your car, you were less judgmental of people who were different to you. Now, of course, you’re older and wiser, more tolerant, but somehow when you look back you realise there has been some slippage. Little bits of dirt have accumulated, and you haven’t noticed it.
In fact, somewhere in the Bible it says: All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Now, you may think that’s a bit steep. After all, we like to think we’re basically good people.
But the reality is, the bits of dirt and grime we accumulate in our minds and hearts actually builds up into something quite disgusting when we compare ourselves with the purity, and beauty and holiness of an almighty God.
But there’s a solution. You can walk over carpet for years and put off the day you have to bring in the cleaners because you’re not prepared to admit how bad the carpet really is. Same thing goes for our lives. The Bible also says that if we confess our sins … that means we actually admit that we’re sinners, God is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Sometimes we have to admit that even though we vacuum the carpet regularly, we still need to bring in the carpet cleaners to do a proper job. We may assume we’re basically good people, but there comes a time when we have to admit that compared to God we’re nowhere near perfect.
If we’re prepared to confess our sin, and admit our need of God, he’s assured us he’ll hear that prayer and put us right with himself.