Snow White

My friends in the north have already had their first skiff of snow. When I went downstairs to make my coffee this morning I noticed that the car had frost on it—the first of the season. The inevitable is happening. Winter happens. Be it mild or fierce, it is sure.

Just as surely comes the inevitable need to face a much bigger issue than frost and snow flurries. At some point in life every one of us has to face the offenses we have committed against God—what the Scripture calls sin.

One of the ladies we worked with in Caracas was always quick to remind us that David, often held up as a godly example, was not perfect. If Elizabeth knew nothing much else about the Bible she certainly knew the story of David's sin against Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah.

God did not seek to hide the sin of one of His own. In recording David's sin, and its consequences, the Almighty also provided the backdrop for a wonderful description of the remedy for that sin.

Psalm 51 describes David's journey. He begins by asking forgiveness: "Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin" (51:1, 2).

He then acknowledges that, though he committed sin against specific people, his offense was principally against God Himself (vss. 3-6) and that God's judgment on those sins was just.

Later (vss. 10-12) David will ask for renewal of the relationship that he once enjoyed with God. But it is this that strikes me this morning: "Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow" (vs. 7).

David's words are reminiscent of God's invitation through the prophet, Isaiah, in Isaiah 1: "'Come now, let us reason together,' says the Lord. 'Though your sins be like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be like wool'" (1:18).

It seems it is not "politically correct" to use the "S" word, even from many pulpits. We fear offending people by pointing sin out more than we fear offending God by ignoring it.

But just as "charity begins at home" so does the exercise of examining ourselves first. Jesus said: "Do not judge, or you will be judged. For the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the same measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank our of your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye" (Matthew 7:1-5).

We have to start with ourselves before we start on anyone else. Many people use the first two verses of the Matthew passage to justify not judging someone else's sin. But that is not what Jesus is talking about since He clearly states a little later in the passage that we ARE to help our brother deal with his "speck." But this is only to happen after we've dealt with our own tree trunk!

The "live and let live" philosophy is convenient when we don't want to deal with ourselves.

But the point is that we can be free from the stain of sin. There is forgiveness from the God Who loves us so much that He personally carried the weight of that sin on a Roman cross.

We can be whiter than snow.


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