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.
(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.