Lessons From My Washing Machine

“And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”

1 Corinthians 6:11

George is a young man who has lived on the streets of our city since he was about 14 years old when he grew tired of panhandling and collecting recyclables to support his dads drug habit. The years have proven to be cruel to George as one might expect if you were forced to live on the street and sleep on the ground at night, often times with nothing to lay on or cover up with. I’m not surprised after all these years that George suffers from schizophrenia and most likely multiple personality disorder. George believes that he sees spiders everywhere and at times he becomes paralyzed by the fear of them most likely from years and years of going to bed at night thinking about spiders crawling on you and then waking up in the middle of the night because some actually are. To say George is beat down mentally would be an understatement.

The multiple personality disorder makes sense too as a means of coping with the aloneness he has felt most of his life. Like a scene out of the movie Castaway, George didn’t have a volleyball with a bloody hand print on it that resembled a face to befriend. All George had was himself for hours and hours on end and to cope he would talk to himself. Do that for years and years and the end result is a fear of real people and a greater sense of comfort and control by talking to yourself.

Thats just a little backstory about George, my own take on him from years of watching him, listening to him and learning about him and from him as I and others seek to help him. I learn a lot from George. It’s no accident God brought George into my life. The other night as I was doing some of Georges laundry the Lord taught me a wonderful truth about “Sanctifying Love”. As I loaded Georges clothes that one of our pastors and I had determined were at least a week or so, if not longer, worn without being changed. To say the clothes stunk would be an understatement. They were ripe, over ripe in every sense of the word.

I decided I had better go heavy on the laundry soap in hopes that the clean refreshing sent could dominate the stench of Georges dirty clothes. As I poured the soap into the washing machine the Lord brought to mind the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:11 to remind me that without Jesus Christ dying on Calvary’s Cross my life is a repulsive as Georges clothes. In all truthfulness Georges clothes smell better to God than my old life or yours. Isaiah 64 puts it like this, “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags.” Some might read this and say, “not me” and I laugh because none of us realizes how bad we can stink. It always take someone else to come along to help us understand we need a bath.

The good news of the Gospel is Jesus is the one who washes us and cleanses us and takes away our stink. The blood of Christ cleanses us from all our sins. There is no stench so great, no stain too great that the blood of Christ can’t remove it. Jesus is our spot remover! As I washed Georges clothes I thought about the “before and after”. I knew the clothes going in the washer stunk bad. So bad the smell was still lingering in my truck from merely transporting the dirty clothes home. But I also knew the smell of the detergent and how clean and refreshing it was and how once the clothes were washed, they would come out on the other side smelling better than new. Whats true about Georges laundry can be true for you today too. Are you feeling dirty today and far from God? Don’t let that keep you away but let it be the reason you come to Him. Take God at His word and experience for yourself what its like to feel clean, from the inside out!

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.”

Isaiah 1:18


Michael Osthimer





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