By DANNY MINTON
I was traveling down one of the commercial streets in Abilene one day and saw the sign, “Clean Dirt.” That struck me odd since I learned years ago that dirt was “dirty.” I was told to wash the dirt off my hands before I ate. I washed the dirt out of my hair, and my mom cleaned the dirt from my “dirty” clothes.
There was a time that I had my “dirty” mouth cleaned out with Lifebuoy soap. I listened to guys tell “dirty” jokes and even saw them pass around “dirty” books. I had to take off my “dirty” shoes before coming into the house and couldn’t sit on the couch until I had taken a bath to clean my “dirty” body.
But one thing I never did was try to clean dirt. When we try to clean it, it just becomes mud and then when it’s dry it is harder than it was before. After it’s hardened, it’s even more difficult to get rid of the sticky goo that remains. In reality, it’s impossible to clean dirt. Dirt is always dirty no matter how much you wash it. True, it may get watered down, but it still remains even though seemingly hidden from our sight.
That’s the way it is with sin in our lives. If we allow our lives to remain mired in sin, it will keep us from being clean. As long as we live in sin, we’re going to be dirty. We can hide it from everyone else, but it’s still there. We can disguise it, but it’s still there. We can ignore it, but it’s still there. The more we hide it or, the more we disguise it, or the more we ignore it trying to make it look okay, the harder it becomes and more difficult to remove.
The only way to get rid of the dirt is to wash it away completely, for we all know there is no such thing as clean dirt just as there is no such thing as good sin. They are both an oxymoron. As long as we allow sin to rule over us, then we remain dirty. The only way we can truly get rid of the dirt is to rid our lives from the hold that our sins have on us. That’s not always easy. Sometimes we have to go to great efforts to become clean. Sometimes we fall back in the mud and have to start over again. Much like we wash our hands several times a day, take a bath, or wash our hair it is an ongoing process. Staying clean is not easy, but important if we are to present ourselves properly before others and God.
The Word as recorded in Isaiah: “Wash and make yourself clean. Take your evil deeds out of my sight! Stop doing wrong, learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow. ‘Come now, let us reason together,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are as red as crimson, they shall be like wool.'” Isaiah 1:16-18.
“Clean Dirt” simply means no trash or impurities. So it should be with our lives.
I wash my hands in innocence, and go about your altar, LORD, proclaiming aloud your praise and telling of all your wonderful deeds. Psalm 26:6-7
“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ