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The Hidden Stain

January 23, 2008

carpet_stain.jpgHave you ever tried to get a stain out of carpet? Not an easy job! There is a small stain on my carpet in our family room. The first time I noticed it I attacked it immediately. I got out all the ammo!! Those who know me know that I’m a fanatic about clean carpets. My first attempt took care of the stain and I was very pleased. The unsightly spot was gone. My achievement even allowed me to reposition the area rug over a few inches where it then looked better balanced in the room. Each morning I would walk out and see my big accomplishment and gleam with pride…”I got that pesky stain!” Then a few weeks later I noticed the stain had suddenly reappeared! Puzzled, I stood there wondering how on earth that spot could have returned. So I brought out even stronger weapons this time and went at it once again. I scrubbed and scrubbed the surface of that stain and eventually it went away only to resurface over and over.

This got me thinking about the similarities between stained carpet and sin in my life. Sin is very much like a stain. It starts out innocent like a child with a glass of grape juice walking through the living room. They don’t intend to spill it on the carpet but if they’re not careful they will slip and fall and create a stain. I don’t seek sin out but when I am not on guard or paying close attention to my surroundings I too will slip and fall and create a mess. That’s when the stain fighting power kicks into gear. I acknowledge my fumble, do a little scrubbing, tell myself no and move on. Then I fall again…and again; you know how the story goes.

Why does sin, or that carpet stain, seem to always reappear? It is because our initial efforts to remove the “spot” are usually dealt with only on the surface. To have effectively removed that stain on my rug I would have to go much deeper than the human eye can see. It would require that I lift away the carpet and work on the padding underneath, the heart and mind, where the stain has soaked into. Until I replace the dirty substance below with something new then the dirt will keep creeping back up. What’s more is that I would need to do that immediately if I wish not to battle the stain again in the future. God does not want us to delay…the longer we let our stains set in the more they permeate deep within. Did you know the difference between a spot and a stain is 24 hours? There’s some food for thought. Why let it soak in only to battle it over and over again? What we need to be doing is stain guarding ourselves with some sin repellent. Our best protection is the word of God. He has already given us everything we need to wash away that sin. You wouldn’t think blood could get out a stain. Only the blood of Jesus can accomplish that. Let Him wash you clean, put on your armor – the word – “the sin fighting power” and watch your step as you dodge those carpet stains!

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44 Comments leave one →
  1. January 23, 2008 6:48 pm

    What a great way to put this! Thanks for the wisdom!

  2. January 23, 2008 6:52 pm

    Jesus blood covers the stain – blots them out “whiter than snow”! I think that is so exciting! However in our humaness and stupidty in letting sin ruin our lives – sometimes the damage stays with us for a long time – especially memory. Oh if the gift of God’s grace could just wipe my memory clean – on 2nd thought – maybe not. Maybe I need to remember my foolishness.

  3. Sean permalink
    January 23, 2008 6:54 pm

    Thanks Tam, great insight. Gotta chew on this one for a while, the idea, not the carpet, that would be bad. ;-P

  4. Mostly Sunny permalink
    January 23, 2008 6:56 pm

    Great post. I love it when God uses every day things to remind us of who He is and who we are in Him. This post is a keeper. May I share it with friends??

  5. January 23, 2008 7:05 pm

    Hey Skyler! Good to see you. Thanks for the kind words!

    Papa, I feel the same. I don’t mind the memories. They serve as great reminders of who I do not want to be again and of things I wish not to repeat.

    Sean, carpet chewing? Bad dog! HA!

    Mostly Sunny, LOVE that name! Thanks for coming by. I enjoy seeing new people and making more friends…so Welcome! And of course you may share this with any one you’d like…thank you!

  6. January 23, 2008 8:15 pm

    That was great insight Tam.

    I agree that to remove the stain of sin, causing harm to someone, we need to address what the sin was. Not the deed itself but what caused us to do what we did. Cleaning the surface won’t get at the underling cause.

    Once we know what caused us to commit the sin the next step is to be truly sorry we committed it. If our repentance, corrective action to us Atheist 🙂 , isn’t sincere we will likely commit that sin again.

    If we do commit that sin again, the stain doesn’t go away, we need to understand why we weren’t truly sincere the first time around. A Christian can’t fool God with a false repents. An Atheist can’t fool their own internal psyche with some half-hearted attempt at fixing a problem.

    The greater the sin the greater the pain of self examination will be. We have to accept that pain if we are to overcome our sin.

    For a non-believer there is a great sense of relief at overcoming sin. I would guess for a Christian there would be a great sense of relief when you finally do receive God’s affirmation that you have overcome your sin.

  7. charitymedders permalink
    January 23, 2008 8:21 pm

    good stuff!

  8. January 23, 2008 8:41 pm

    Speaking of sin, I am having so much fun in blogging with my Christian friends I forgot to check my “Hot Babes” web site today. 🙂

  9. January 23, 2008 8:49 pm

    Ed cracks me up!!! hahaha! 😀

    Great post Tam! I have one of those stains….. actually, one of BOTH kinds. 😉 Something to think about.

  10. lazrus2 permalink
    January 23, 2008 9:20 pm

    Thanks for the confirmation (one of many today) for something I just wrote about from Psalms 51. I’ve been thinking of writing it for more than a month now, but finally received the ‘go ahead’ to follow through. If you (or anyone else at TRF) is interested in reading it, hopefully it will be out this weekend with the other ‘Worship from the Word’ articles on the information table in the Oasis.

    Indian Lake Papa’s and your ‘take’ on keeping the ‘memories’ to avoid ‘relapses’ goes right along with a teaching from Rick Booye I heard tonight too. Unfortunately, it’s not available online yet, but rest assured your insights are God-directed and confirmed by many others. It must be a timely word.

    D-

  11. January 24, 2008 4:54 am

    Good words, especially to us who seem to be cleaning stains from our carpet on a weekly basis! I’m reminded of this:

    Luke 11:24-26
    When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first.

    We need to make sure that we not only clean our hearts and confront our sin, but that we repent and fill ourselves with Christ. Otherwise, the vacancy will be filled by something else again.

  12. January 24, 2008 10:25 am

    Excellent analogy for sin in our lives. Good point that the blood of Jesus is the only thing that cleanse of our sins!

    Blessings in Christ–

  13. January 24, 2008 11:13 am

    So Scripture is Scotch Guard for our lives…

    Sounds like one of those bad christian T-Shirts…

    Nice article, you could really run with that analogy…

    I think it’s so cool that God crafts even the mundane things in our lives into a lesson.

  14. January 24, 2008 12:17 pm

    For a Christian is the source of the definition of sin the bible? Is it when you do something and God speaks to you in some manner to tell you it is wrong?

    My definition of sin is an act that causes harm to someone. That someone could be myself.

    There are times when I just feel that an action is wrong. I think my Christian friends would say that is God speaking to me even though I don’t believe in him. I think it comes from my sub-conscious because of something I was taught or from something that happened to me in the past.

  15. January 24, 2008 12:32 pm

    Hey Ed…I’m heading out the door but wanted to let you know i will help with this evening… Great question too!

    Love – Tam

  16. January 24, 2008 12:34 pm

    I’ve heard it said that ‘sin’ is an ancient archery term which means to be off the mark, away from the center of the target.

    Sin is anything which puts distance between oneself and God.

    What constitutes sin is written in Creation itself, ingrained in the heart of every person whether they acknowledge God or not. The Great Moral Law of Creation.

    With that understanding of sin, the more you sin, the further from God you get… therefore, the easier it is to ignore Him.

  17. January 24, 2008 12:36 pm

    You have such a way with words! I found your blog through the blog of a friend of a friend of a friend. 🙂 I have enjoyed looking (and learning) from it. God Bless!

  18. Heidi permalink
    January 24, 2008 12:37 pm

    I love this. I love that the “red stains” that I carry are only because I choose to carry them. See, the ones I gave up already are gone, invisible, and bleached out.

    I love the fact that I love a God that His SON to wipe up or blot out my “red” stains.

  19. January 24, 2008 2:34 pm

    I would comment on this excellent post, but I am still angry that the Patriots made it to the Superbowl! ARRGGGHHH!!!!

  20. January 24, 2008 3:43 pm

    oooh, I like totaltransformation. 😉 Great minds…… haha! 😀

    Although, I was anti-patriots the other day on your “orphan” post, today I am pro just to get at Jake. 😉 We had a “fun” disagreement and I said “just for that, I’m rooting for the patriots now” hahaha!

    But still, secretly not.

  21. January 24, 2008 4:00 pm

    Tam, reading this post made me see the “stains” inside my soul.

    But I know that I alone cannot remove them, I need the ALL POWERFUL, ALMIGHTY, EVRYWHERE AT ONE TIME SUPERCLEANER, God.

    As much as I like to hide them, HE purposely makes them visible, and with love and grace, removes them.

    I loved it!

    Ivy

  22. January 24, 2008 5:41 pm

    “Sin is anything which puts distance between oneself and God.”

    Perfectly said Buddy! In fact, while I was out today I was thinking of the archery example (my Pastor uses this example a lot) and was going to respond the same.

    But you’re quote here really says it all. And it applies to us all! What erases that distance is a repent heart…a true repentance.

    Ed, you asked what constitutes sin for a Christian. James 4:17 says, “Remember it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.” Sin isn’t only doing wrong but it is also not doing right…otherwise known as sins of commission and sins of omission. My commentary explains it so simply..
    “It is a sin to lie. It can also be a sin to know the truth and not tell it.” Sins can be out in the open and they can be very private. They can hurt another or yourself.

    Where do you think morals came from? What compels you to know that something just isn’t right? I know we have experiences that teach us. But why do they become lessons? there’s a standard…but from where?

  23. January 24, 2008 6:39 pm

    “Where do you think morals came from? What compels you to know that something just isn’t right? I know we have experiences that teach us. But why do they become lessons? there’s a standard…but from where?”

    Tam, I think we get our moral codes from what we are taught and our experience in life. I think some behavior is also instinctive, it comes from our DNA.

    I think it starts the DNA we are born with. Then we observe our parents behavior. We learn rules first from our home environment then the society we grow up in. We observe the effect our behavior has on others. We learn which behavior is rewarded, which punished. We learn what makes us happy, what makes us sad.

    I don’t think our morals come from any one thing. It is a mix of our instincts and experiences we have in life.

    I think one point we disagree on is that I don’t believe that thinking of doing something sinful is it’s self a sin. It may lead to sin, but sin to me is doing something harmful.

  24. January 24, 2008 7:04 pm

    I agree with ED’s paragraph #4 about instincts and experiences, but I also believe believe God’s Word needs to be added. If you don’t have that personal encounter with Jesus, then instincts and experiences may be all you have.

    I do disagree with ED’s last statement. If I sit there at my neighbors house lusting after his wife, that is a sin to me. The action has already been taken – I have disappointed my Savior who lives in me. I need to ask God’s forgiveness for that thought.

  25. January 24, 2008 7:55 pm

    Hey Ed, as Christians, we believe that the issues of the heart are the most important. God wants from us a pure and honest love. this is why we have free will. God also does not want action that is not from our heart. they are passages of scripture that speak to our worship being like filthy rags. Another words, God is more interested in the heart than in the action. Of course, what the heart feels often leads to action.

    Here is a great scripture. This is Jesus speaking.

    “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery’. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
    Matthew 5:28

  26. January 24, 2008 9:27 pm

    Brent said, “we believe that the issues of the heart are the most important.”

    This is were our perspective(?) is very different.

    My process for dealing with sin, and I would guess most problems, is different from a believer. I try to take the emotional element out of the equation, as much as possible. This doesn’t work so well were love is concerned. 🙂 If I have the time I may seek guidance from others. I weigh the advise from some people more than others. In the end it’s my decision.

    I can see where my approach is more self centered. I may decide to put the interested of others over mine. Almost all of us will make sacrifices for our families However I always try to control the process, as much as I can.

    I think this way because this is how I overcame the severe depression of my youth. My method comes from my experience. The Christian method, seeking God’s guidance, is a result of the experience of God making his presence know to you. That is why our “standards”, our definitions of sin, are different.

    I suspect God’s standard may be clearer. If the bible says some action is a sin then it’s a sin. Of course when using the bible you have to deal with words thousands of years old and all those different interpretations. 🙂

  27. January 24, 2008 10:01 pm

    Tam, it was sinful the way the ducks lost to UCLA tonight. 🙂

  28. January 24, 2008 10:14 pm

    What is up with the Ducks this year?!!!

    B agrees! Terrible!

    Webster now defines sin as the Ducks missing the mark….or the basket 😯

  29. January 24, 2008 10:30 pm

    I can’t brag, another sin 🙂 , too much. My UCONN Huskies have a decent record at 13-5 but got blown out at home by unranked Providence 65-77.

    The lady Huskies are however ranked #1 again.

  30. January 24, 2008 10:37 pm

    Girl Power!

    We rock, don’t we boys?!

    😉

  31. January 25, 2008 1:04 am

    i am so with u esp when i try my own methods to clean the spot like David did.
    i am a bit of a freak about the carpet too LOL!
    no but i cant stand cycling in and out of certain patterns.

  32. January 25, 2008 5:49 am

    I suspect God’s standard may be clearer. If the bible says some action is a sin then it’s a sin. Of course when using the bible you have to deal with words thousands of years old and all those different interpretations.

    Nah.. it’s not that complicated. What you described is where people start to get into trouble. They think “Is X as sin?” and then go to the biblegateway.com and do a keword search on ‘X’ to find two sentances that talk about it. That’s not how the Bible is intended to be used. It’s a pipeline for God to communicate with us. It should be read in larger context not just little snips like an encyclopedia. God’s Word enters our hearts and works within us to give us discernment. While there may very well be a verse or two that describe a certian sin, it’s this discernment, the real meat that comes from digesting the Word, which guides us everyday.

  33. Sean permalink
    January 25, 2008 5:51 am

    Hey Ed, a question for you, because I am trying to fully understand your point of view. I understand what you are saying as far as understanding sin, or good and bad behavior, from DNA encoding, then environmental factors, parental examples and that sort of thing. Trying to reach beyond that point, where did the origin of the standards of good and bad behavior come from, I mean going back through time? And also, if part of our understanding these standards depends on our genetics, are you saying that we are inherently good at our core?

  34. January 25, 2008 10:40 am

    Sean, “where did the origin of the standards of good and bad behavior come from, I mean going back through time? And also, if part of our understanding these standards depends on our genetics, are you saying that we are inherently good at our core?”

    My science based approached, as least as well as I can understand it, is that our core standard(?) would be instinctive behavior to survive, like any other animal. It’s our evolved
    human brain that gives us a more complex set of behavior, our moral codes.

    From Wikipedia:

    “The neocortex accounts for about 76% of the mass of the human brain;[4] with a neocortex much larger than other animals, humans enjoy unique mental capacities despite having a neuroarchitecture similar to that of more primitive species. ”

    Also:

    ” new neurons can grow within the mature adult brain; this process is known as neurogenesis. Regardless of neuron growth or death, brain function and capabilities can be learned and developed throughout life.”

    Our experiences shape the development of these neurons.

    The emotional part of our brain does impact the process of the development of our moral codes.

    “Extended neocortical capacity allows humans some control over emotional behavior, but neural pathways between emotive centers of the brain stem and cerebral motor control areas are shorter than those connecting complex cognitive areas in the neocortex with incoming sensory information from the brain stem. Powerful emotional pathways can modulate spontaneous emotive expression regardless of attempts at cerebral self-control. Emotive stability in humans is associated with planning, experience, and an environment that is both stable and stimulating.”

    As new evidence is gather our understanding of how our brain functions is growing rapidly. I think we are still a long way from completely understanding how it works.

  35. January 25, 2008 10:58 am

    I should also add that the female brain must have some nuerons that are beyond the understand of our inadequate male mind.

    I have no clue as to how the female mind works. 🙂

  36. January 25, 2008 11:09 am

    Ed, great info, but is that really an answer for morals or is it just an answer to why we react the way we do?

    We are protective in nature and will adapt to taking care of self, but is that than considered a moral?

    Maybe we should say how we define morals.

  37. January 25, 2008 11:20 am

    Brent, I define a moral is the basis for making a choice when faced with some problem we encounter.

    We react the way we do because of the moral code we have developed from our experinces, with some emotion and instinct thrown in the mix.

  38. January 25, 2008 11:30 am

    My perception is that when a believer is trying to communicate with God it is a emotional connection.

    The dialogue, whatever form it takes, may move beyond emotion.

    A believer would need affirmation from God that their choice is a moral one

  39. January 25, 2008 11:31 am

    Where does the instinct come from?

    How did instinct get thrown in the mix and how did instinct determine right and wrong?

  40. January 25, 2008 11:36 am

    So does this “code of conduct” differ from everyday reaction?

  41. January 25, 2008 11:46 am

    Tam, I see instinct as coming from the “animal” side of our brain. It is the instinct to survive. I suspect that a decision based more on emtion may come from this part of the brain.

    However, I am sure it is a lot more complex than that.

  42. January 25, 2008 11:55 am

    Brent, I think our code of conduct is developed by the results of the decisions.

    It may change day to day depending on what result we observe.

    I have got to shave, shower and go to the library to improve my neuron connections.

    I don’t know if my decision not to shave yesterday was a moral one, but I do feel a bit grubby. 🙂

  43. January 25, 2008 4:10 pm

    Thanks Tam!

    Great work picture to explain sin and God’s power!

  44. January 25, 2008 4:11 pm

    Oops I meant to type word picture, but you probably knew that 🙂

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