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Clean

By Eric M. Pazdziora

I have felt dirty and unworthy of a clean slate with God ever since my experience, ever since that meeting with Mrs. H---, this feeling has plagued me for years.... The struggle that has lingered from my TM days is guilt.

--Anna (on Recovering Alumni)

Everybody’s felt that.

You feel dirty.

You feel unclean.

You feel unworthy.

You feel guilty.

And all the religious people in the world decide they agree with you.

That’s the part that hurts the most, maybe.

So they drag you out on the street, rocks in hand, taunts and jeers and everyone watching. Catcalls and boos and curses and imprecations. And they drag you through the city until they find Him.

And they say to Him, “The cat dragged in this dirty thing but it wouldn’t eat it. What do we do with it?”

He looks annoyed and He starts doodling on the ground with His finger.

And they ask again, “What do You do with something that’s this dirty?”

(You never knew before that someone could doodle passive-aggressively.)

And they ask again, “What are we supposed to do with this dirty, guilty, sinful, unworthy thing that crawled out from under the rock pile?”

Eventually He looks up and says what nobody expected. “Whichever one of you isn’t dirty yourself, go ahead and throw the first stone.”

Then He goes back to doodling. Like whatever He’s drawing in the dust is more important than what all the religious people in the world think of you.

All the earth stands silent. (Actually, it’s watching the doodling.)

Then all the prophets and the apostles and the great multitude of the heavenly host stand up in heaven and shout words too big to hear...

"I am writing to you who are God's children because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus." (1 John 2:12).

"I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols." (Ezekiel 36:25).

“Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)

"O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption." (Psalm 130:7)

"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace." (Ephesians 1:7)

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

"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 red as crimson, they shall be like wool." (Isaiah 1:18)

"He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior..." (Titus 3:5-6)

"Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." (Hebrews 10:22)

Suddenly you know what all the religious people in the world forgot that day:

Jesus makes you clean.

All the religious people slink away without the rocks they were going to throw. Some to cry, some to brood, some to whimper, maybe even some to rejoice.

And then it’s just you and Him.

Finally He looks up from His doodling and smiles. He says, “Wasn’t there just somebody here saying you were dirty?”

You smile back. “I think they all got religion.”

“What a coincidence,” He says. “I don’t think you’re dirty either. Well, you’d better go along. You don’t have to be a sinner anymore. You’re clean.”

If you believe nothing else, believe this:

The whole point of what Jesus did is to make you clean.

So you're free.

You're not guilty.

You're not condemned.

You're clean.


(The story of course is a massive allusion to John 8:1-11. The picture is by Rembrandt, because he was the only one to draw it exactly the way it ought to be--a doodle.)


Eric M. Pazdziora writes words and music. The music includes a brand-new album of hymns about grace entitled "New Creation," featuring his wife Carrie on vocals. To hear the music or to read more writings, visit his website at http://www.ericpazdziora.com.

13 comments:

  1. A beautiful reminder of our identity in Christ! This seems to be what the enemy attacks the most, @ least for me, who I am in Him.

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  2. A powerful truth, Eric. Great post.

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  3. Beautiful! Thanks for putting it in new words so I can hear it better.

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  4. Praying that this message will resonate with those who have been spiritually abused and that they will know the freedom of Christ and cast off the heavy burdens that have been laid on them.

    Great post!

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  5. This is the essence of the Gospel. Jesus does not condemn us. Bless you, Eric, for being so clear about it!

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  6. Wonderful. Legalism really does cover up so much with dirt. Jesus did not cover us in dirt, instead he made us clean.

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  7. I think you and all of you "followers" need to be quivering because of how you are treating God and His word, and how you act about postions in a family and houshold that He has made. And because of how you are disapointing God in the way that you are treating Him. Children who are raised in a family who does not watch a lot of tv, or isn't allowed to wear pants, or listen to the kind of music they want, or date or whatever else you "base" your view on are not abused, or brained washed or anything else like that. Parents who have rules and guidlines for their families have them b/c they are doing everyting they can to raise a godly family, to do what they think God wants them to do and do help their children prepare for life ahead. And you who write this blog need to realize how many people YOU brainwash and how many families you help to ruin b/c you think you know what is best for SOMEONE ELSES family. And those who read this blog should look back on the years that your family has cared for you, loved you, provided for you, and did everything they could to raise you to live a godly life, and then you and the writers of this blog should be on your knees before God repenting and asking forgiveness for how you have dissed, hurt, and rejected Him(God) and the parents who gave you life.

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  8. I also think that you should take the blank out of your own eye before you try and take the speck out of another persons eye. You should also go to Gods word, and try and truly become the kind of chirstian that you are saying that you are. B/c from what I see, and here, you are not a true christian.
    Oh and e-mailing you is the LAST thing I would ever want to do.

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  9. Anonymous,

    I'm sorry that you feel this way. It's clear that you're very angry, but please notice the Bible verses I quoted in the article above. Being a "true Christian," according to God's Word, is about living in the grace of Jesus. Even with the best intentions, parents or other authority figures may unwittingly obscure this truth. So this website is not about rejecting God but about helping people to hear His voice without the trappings of authoritarianism, condemnation, and judgmentalism that can get in their way.

    The Bible's commandment on raising children is clear: "Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged" (Colossians 3:21). I am concerned that the harsh, angry, and judgmental attitude you display in these comments is the kind of action that may discourage people from following Jesus. Your portrayal of God is also worrying; the Bible says that God is delighted, not disappointed, in His children (Zephaniah 3:17).

    I'd encourage you to prayerfully consider whether the doctrines you've been taught about raising "godly" families are made up more of "rules and guidelines" about TV and pants and music and dating than they are centered on Jesus. All we want to see is parents who follow Jesus and children who do too. Anything that gets in the way of that is a problem, and anything that helps that is good. Thankfully, the Lord gives grace even in our blind spots, sins, and weaknesses. Wouldn't you agree?

    Thanks for writing.

    Eric

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  10. Good answer, Eric.
    And far more gracious than what I would have given.
    I'm glad you answered long before I had a chance.

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  11. Ahhhh...grace.

    The beauty of it.

    The magnificence of it.

    To be made so clean by the work of Yeshua.

    To be given the freedom to love and serve Him...not because I am trying to earn anything...for I know I cannot...but simply because of what He has already done for me.

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound.

    Yeah...I know that feeling of being dirty...and the feeling of being cleansed. There is nothing like it.

    Only in Yeshua can we be made whole.

    Isn't it awesome?

    Thanks again, Eric!

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