Saturday, September 28, 2013

Living cleansed in a germy world

"cleanse your hands, you sinners"
James 4:8

I went out in the backyard today, to talk to a friend on the phone.  The weather's been so beautiful lately, and we have a porch swing hanging from our patio cover, so it's a nice place to enjoy. 

And the dog followed me out, as she normally does.  She likes to see if there are any neighboring dogs or cats to bark at.  Or maybe she'll run down the side yard to the gate, and watch the sidewalk for a few minutes, to see if anyone has the temerity to walk down the street. 

Or maybe she'll find a tennis ball and play with it a little.  She prefers to have one of her people play fetch with her, but I don't really do that.  It's a game that the Apple of my Eye plays, primarily, and when he's at work sometimes the kids play with her.  The most she'll get from me is my kicking the ball for her, if she drops it at my feet.  But even that's hard to do, because she'd rather be chased a little than just drop the ball and make it easy for me.   And chasing wasn't going to happen, cuz I was on the phone. 

I sat, chatting and swinging, and she wandered around the yard, sniffing and exploring.  But when I hung up, and stood up from the swing, I realized I hadn't heard her bark at all, which is unusual.  After all, it's her second-favorite pastime, after playing ball...  And then I realized I had been hearing her scuffling around in the leaves, which is also unusual.  Most of our backyard is patio; there's a relatively small amount of planting area, so for her to spend time there, she has to have a reason. 

So I went looking for her, and found her standing in the planter, behind the barbecue.  She was just standing there looking at me.  I asked her what was up, and walked a little, closer, and still she just stood.  Then after a minute of looking at me, and deciding she didn't feel like following me quite yet, she looked back down at what was apparently the reason she was so interested in the garden ~ a small, dead rat. 

I really don't think she killed it.  That's not her style.  The neighbors have three cats, and that's really more likely what happened. 

{We have a kitty too, of course, 
but she rarely goes outside.
And killing a rat is not her style, either.}

So I called the dog to me a couple more times, and she followed me inside.  And I went to my Amazing Boy and asked him to take care of it so that the dog would be able to go outside without my having to worry about her nosing around it.  And he bravely did so. 

{Cuz, ya know, ew.}

When my son came back in, I told him to wash his hands.  I mean, I knew he hadn't touched the thing; his hands were far away, at the end of a long shovel handle, but still:  ew.

And then I washed my hands too.  It felt kind of silly.  All I had done was look at the rat.  But somehow, I guess I figured that I'd been near my boy, and he'd touched the shovel that touched the rat. 

I knew that there was no compelling reason for me to wash my hands, except that I'd been reminded that life is sometimes dirty, and gross, and germy.   We need to wash our hands frequently to rid ourselves of what we've been hanging around.  Even if we think we're clean, there's a good chance we have touched a doorknob or a shopping cart or a gas pump with more bacteria on it than we want to think about. 

It's the same with our spiritual cleanliness.  Leviticus 5:17 says, "If a person sins, and commits any of these things which are forbidden to be done by the commandments of the Lord, though he does not know it, yet he is guilty and shall bear his iniquity." 

Or, in more common parlance:  "Ignorance of the law is no excuse."

We wash our hands automatically at certain points of the day, when we know we need to.  But we also do it even if we're not sure ~ say, when we're getting ready to eat, or if we were going to hold a friend's newborn.  Sometimes we wash just in case.   

And maybe we should take the same approach to repentance.  We need to acknowledge sometimes, that He is so holy, and so perfect, any sin is offensive to Him.  Even the small ones, and even the inadvertent ones. 

The good news is, a clean conscience is as easy to acquire as clean hands. 

~ "For whoever shall keep the whole law,
and yet stumble in one point,
he is guilty of all." ~
James 2:10


  1. You write the best posts, Light. I have been a Christian for a long, long time and I have read and never gone back to a lot of blogs by Christians who, I'm sure, mean well but don't quite hack it and, if truth be told, drive away more readers than they attract.

    I keep coming back to yours.

    I realize you don't get many commenters, but I pray the Lord will give you many, many readers.

  2. Thank you for the compliments. What I love most is knowing that though my efforts are small, and flawed, He can bless others. That's all I pray for. Thanks for your encouragement, and for the education and entertainment of your own humble blog!