“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me . . . my sacrifice, Oh God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart that you, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:2-3; 17)
Blessed are they who dust their homes regularly and on cloudy days, for they shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. How many of you dust all flat and/or wooden surfaces in your home at least three times a week even when you can’t see it? You know it’s there, especially when you look at your dust cloth or duster and it’s filthy. There’s a special place in heaven reserved for you.
I must confess that the only time I am motivated to dust is when I can see it. When the sun is shining through the window on the furniture at just the right angle – and that’s either early morning or late afternoon – when it’s all exposed.
Maybe house dust is like sin. It’s always there. I know I need to confess it regularly. But how easy I forget it when I can’t see it in myself. Only when the Son shines on me at just the right angle do I become aware of it. I need to position myself at the right angle, which is on my knees, with my face to the ground. Jesus definitely reveals my sin, not because he’s punitive and ready to crack that whip, but so that he can forgive me and draw me closer to Him. It’s about awareness. I need to acknowledge my sin before a holy God so that he extends his mercy and forgiveness.
There are several references to dust in scripture, but the one that jumped out at me is Job 42:6 “Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” Job is finally repenting, but not just because of his friends’ ill-advised suggestion. The sin that he committed is questioning God’s sovereignty and justice, and I’m guilty of that too.
The list of my vices is long for which I need to seek forgiveness from, and self-pity and envy compete for the number one spot. I also doubt God’s goodness and his timing and if I don’t confess all of this and allow God to deal with me regularly, it piles up, just like that dang dust, and I’m a mess and so is the coffee table!
Sin disconnects us from God, and the more we let it take over our hearts and minds, the more hardened our hearts become. Just like dust, sin has a way of gradually accumulating, so if we don’t sincerely confess it regularly, we are a mess within our spirits and become just like the Pharisees and the religious leaders of the New Testament, their eyes clouded, their lungs choking on hypocrisy.
I don’t know about you, but that’s definitely not the place where I want to be, so I need to make the choice to confess my shortcomings.
Confession is hard. Nobody wants their sin exposed. Nobody wants to see the dust bunnies lurking under the bed or in a dark corner of the room. Nobody wants to look bad. From the words of Frank Santora, senior pastor at Faith Church with locations in New York and Connecticut, “There is power in naming it. It creates a certain dissonance in our souls when we call sin for what it is, we can see how clearly ugly it really is, and that begins the healing process.” For some, it’s a pride issue. They struggle to admit they’re wrong. For me, it’s a self-loathing issue. I can get stuck just beating myself over everything and anything that I did wrong, convincing myself that it’s always all my fault, and it is excruciating to pull myself out of that deep pit. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness,” (1 John 1:9)
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some dusting to do.
I thank you for your never- ending mercy and grace to us when we take the time that we need to confess our iniquity to you. You forgive our sin and forget so quickly, never holding any grudges. Thank you that your mercies are new every morning. Thank you for fresh starts, cleansed hearts, and the desire to serve you in any way we can. Amen.