What is your reaction to this picture?
I think there can be a mix of things people would think when looking at this picture. For one, there is a cute kid sitting at a picnic table. That is enough to warm many hearts. Second, he is clearly happy and having a good time getting his picture taken. Again, all the moms are happy about that. But, then there is the issue of the mess he has made of himself. In fact, he is such a mess here that the picture can’t even pick it all up.
When I looked at him, I couldn’t believe the mess he had made. He even ate the remnants of his ice cream off the bench of the picnic table. Is there no end?
The thing about dirt and ice cream is that it is obvious. When I looked at my son I knew he had played in dirt and he had rolled around in his ice cream. It was obvious what the problem was and what the solution was.
Our lives are not always as easy to unpack. I wonder what we would be like if our sin was always as obvious as this ice cream on my son. There are some sins that are very obvious, but then there are the secrets that we keep. It might not make the outside look to messy, but on the inside is the sticky mess. We make a mess of ourselves, but thankfully God loves to make us clean.
Ice cream is just one example of something that has both good and bad qualities to it. On the one hand, ice cream is delicious and refreshing on a hot day. It is a healthy breakfast food, lunch food, snack, dinner and dessert. (well, ok, maybe not dessert) It is not inherently bad. But, in the hands of some people, it can get very messy. At the same time, ice cream in the hands of people without self-control could lead to health problems and ultimately death.
There are things like money, love, possessions, relationships and success that aren’t inherently wrong either. Yet, these things left unchecked can become addicting, abused and improperly used. This is the way the devil deceives us. He never just says, “hey, this is sin and if you do it you will be killed.” He, instead, takes a subtle position that makes it look awesome and deserved.
Of course, just like my son eating his ice cream full of joy, so does it often go with sin. Many people will get into trouble because they look at something as alright and the ultimate joy, only to find it lacking in whatever it is they were looking for. In the end all you have is a sticky mess to clean up.
The real amazing thing about God is that even in the mess He still loves us. At the same time, He doesn’t just ignore the mess. Instead He desires to make us clean, just like I couldn’t wait to hose down my son.
As you go about your day today and experience whatever hardship you experience, it is important to know that God loves you no matter what your life looks like. You can rest assured that your sin is far worse than you realize. But, you can also rest assured that God is much bigger than you realize and He is willing and able to forgive. Sure, it seems like there is no end to the appeal of sin. We do know for a fact that there is no end to the offer of forgiveness from that sin. In the end, the mess is cleaned up and God gets the glory.
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