What a Bad Stain on Your Carpet Does

My daughter worked on her graduation display after I went to bed at 10:30pm. At 12:15am, she spoke into my bedroom, "Dad, I need your help with something. I spilled some paint on the carpet."

My grogginess soon dissipated when I walked into the living room and saw an eight-inch circle of deep black. She had reached for something and turned over a pint full of tempera paint and had already attempted cleaning it up. "This happened in your bedroom once before ... and why we told you to have plenty of newspaper down..." No speech would help her (or the carpet) at this point, so I stopped, turned and headed for the Oxi-clean. 

It was my problem now. 

I could stop there because that is the crux of the theological moment for a life lesson that happened that night. At least the summary of what God spoke to my heart as I headed back up the stairs to go to bed. 

We are going into the Pentecost season starting Sunday, and I am filling in the pulpit at a church south of Marion. The text I am speaking on is Psalm 103:1-5, which begins with, "Bless the Lord, oh my soul." David then commanded his soul to, "forget not all of His benefits," and then lists five. I wish to focus on the first benefit, "Who forgives all your transgressions." 

Who forgives ALL your transgressions.

There are many things in life we will never forget. Some of those things are because we have a constant reminder of the choices we made or that life has brought to us: a scar, a missing finger, glasses, a wedding ring (or tan-line where one once was), our children, a dent in a fender of a car, or an eight-inch black spot on your carpet. 

There are some things in life we just do. Forget that is. 

God has a good memory for some things. God also chooses to not remember some other things. God spoke through the prophet Isaiah and basically told his people, "A nursing mother may forget her child, but I will not forget you. Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands" (Isaiah 49:15-16).

Oh, yes, tattoos are also good reminders.

On the contrary, Isaiah also tells us about something God chooses to forget. "I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins" (Isaiah 43:25-26 ESV).

God repeats himself through the prophet Jeremiah telling his people the extent of the covenant he desires to make with them, which includes putting his law in their minds, writing it on their hearts, being their God, claiming them as His my people, and being known by them personally. God closes with these words, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more” Jeremiah 31:33-34 (NIV).
So God remembers, and then He doesn't. I am thankful for both. But here's the thing God spoke to me about as I ascended those few tiring steps to my bedroom. After I unsuccessfully used the steam cleaner to extract all of the paint from the carpet, after I had pulled some of that paint into nearby carpeting, after I painstakingly dabbed tissue after tissue (she used up all our paper towels) to clean up what I could, after she apologized twice, after I said, "I am sorry too," and after I had kissed her on the top of the head, the gentle voice of God reminded me and my heart of His truth. This is what came through.

Sin. Like a black spot on my carpet, is His problem now.

There isn't really anything anyone can do for that black spot on my carpet. Well, at least I do not know that there is. But it's my problem now. I have taken over responsibility for seeking to deal with it--to clean it or leave it, or work around it. I could use it as a constant reminder of the bad things my daughter has done and bring it up whenever I want to for whatever purposes I see fit to. I could also refuse to do that and do nothing as I allow the black spot to be a constant reminder to her (and the rest of us) of mistakes that can be made. But seriously, it is my problem now.

At Pentecost, Jesus came to his people again. This time in Spirit as a holy flame prophesied by Joel, validated by Peter, and witnessed by over 3,000 who were baptized by water and fire that day. John Wesley had an experience where he knew in his warmed heart, that Christ had died for his sins, "even mine" he said, and he was given an assurance of it. His sin was God's problem. And God took care of it in Jesus. And the Holy Spirit of LOVE that came into his heart with an assurance of faith was proof that God had dealt with his sin.

Forgiveness. Assurance. Faith. Love. The problem was more than solved.

I cannot do what only God can do.

But I am thinking about cutting a piece of carpet from the closet to replace the section where a black spot is.

In due time. --kk

"Just as I am, and waiting not, to rid my soul of one dark blot
to thee whose blood can cleanse each spot! 
O Lamb of God, I come, I come"

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