Wednesday, January 13

Give Us Clean Hands

Every month at youth group, we address a different set of topics. Starting last week with my lesson on Solitude and Silence, we started a month of Spiritual Discipline lessons. Yesterday's was on prayer. The two leaders who led this also had an interactive night, like my Solitude/Silence lesson. It all turned out very good but I only want to share one part of it.

One way to pray is through the acronym ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication
For the Confession station, we were told to all stand on some plastic, close our eyes, and hold out our hands. The leaders walked around and wiped this gritty goo all over our hands. When they were done we were told to open our eyes and see what they had done. The goo was a combination of corn syrup and not only were our hands dirty but sticky as well.

This struck me as the perfect image of what sin is and how it affects me and others around me.

When we sin, it is as if our hands are covered with that sticky messy goo. Everything we touch is then affected by the dirt. My dirtyness affects my relationships with others and with God. I can pretend that the sin is not present in my life but it is obviously there, usually apparent to many. Even if I tried to hide it with gloves or pockets, I may be able to fool a few people but not God. There seems to be a growing thought that whatever I do is only my business and only affects me. To that I say, Not So! My sin affects the entire community around me every.single.time! First of all, when I have sin on my hands, I am not being the person that God created me to be which taints how people see God, through me. Next, all I would have to do is reach out and touch someone and oops! they are now messy too. Sin can be contagious. Lastly, when I have messy hands, people are going to be less likely to give me hugs, shake my hands, etc. Every time I sin, I separate myself others, intentionally or not, and the community is affected.

The more obvious relationship that is affected is my relationship with God. When I try to draw close to God with sin on my hands, the sin will make it hard for me to connect with God. For example, if I walked around with dirt on my hands and wanted to spend time talking with my dad, there might be a few moments of good conversation but more than likely, my dad will be distracted with the messy hands. He'd probably encourage me to take care of my hands first and He'd even volunteer to wash them clean. But if I ignore that and just keep chatting away, then our conversation will be affected and whatever wisdom my dad would want to otherwise share with me would be limited.

Another aspect that stood out to me in this analogy is that there is only one good way to remove sin. I could try to remove the dirty mess from my hands but even if I were able to remove all the specks of dirt, my hands would still be sticky and therefore would continue to be a distraction as well as continuing to attract other dirty things around me. Only when I take the time to wash my hands clean will the Lord graciously allow the dirt and stickiness to fall off my hands. He will make me clean...wash me white as snow.

God has promised that if we simply confess our sins...any wrongdoings in our lives...He will forgive us EVERY TIME! We don't have to prove to be better people. We don't have say four "hail Marys" and five "Lord's prayers." We only have to confess. We can never mess up too many times to make Him stop caring or wanting to clean us off. For that, I am so thankful.

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