Over the course of a couple hours my Labrador went from coal black to chocolate brown. Each round of chase and wrestle through our winter worn yard with our neighbor’s dog added yet another layer of red clay dust to Adi’s coat. I knew I couldn’t usher her into the house in this state, so I grabbed a stiff brush and gave her a good grooming, removing the majority of the surface dirt. The thought that she probably needed a hose down flitted through my mind, but I dismissed it in my rush to get supper on the table.
Mistake! Over the course of a few days the dirt hidden in her undercoat worked to the surface. A dog sized clay spot now marked Adi’s favorite place to sleep on our beige carpet. Lesson learned. Now when I face a clay colored pup, she gets an immediate rinse down. The amount of rusty, red water that streams from her body is always impressive.
The dirt that lands on my pup as she romps through the yard isn’t much different than the dirt that falls on me as I walk through this broken world. Dirt sprinkled on me via the news, social media, or the words of people with whom I interact throughout the day. Dirt that comes in the form of fear and hopelessness, anger and bitterness, indifference and callousness. I can try to brush some of it off with dismissal or positive thinking, but truth be told some of it reaches below the surface and settles on my heart and mind. Given time it’s going to work its way to the surface.
At the end of each day, I need a rinse down just as much as my clay dusted Labrador. Simple water won’t do the job. No, what I need is Jesus. I need to sit down with my Bible and allow the Word to wash over me. I need to look below the surface, recognize and confess the fears, anger, and callousness I’ve allowed to imprint my mind and heart. As the water of the Word and confession flows, Jesus renews my mind and washes my heart whiter than snow.
“Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of mind…”
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”Romans 12:2, Psalms 51:7