By Janel Breitenstein
I daily corral four rambunctious, vibrant children, for whom I shop online about twice a year (that would be the clearance sales) given my transatlantic location. Yet in all my paging through websites, there’s one color you’ll never see in my shopping basket: white.
If I’m tempted, I just visualize the same garment spattered in brown—inevitable from our iron-rich dirt here and the minor wounds of rowdy play, that send my kids limping inside. The stains are cheekily resolute, no matter what quantity of hydrogen peroxide, bleach, elbow grease, or imported stain stick attempts to command their submission. White is just too honest a color for my family’s lifestyle.
And what a universal reminder, for all of us with a laundry basket constantly awaiting our attention: Only Jesus can wash our hearts snow-white.
Daily, even hourly guilt or shame, I know, drips from my hands, my heart, and my conscience from sins simply impenetrable to my most dedicated self-effort: “For nothing good have I whereby Thy grace to claim,” wrote Elvina Hall in stanza two of this hymn (emphasis added). His power alone can “change the leper’s spots and melt the heart of stone.”
It’s He who bafflingly says, Come, let us reason together! I’ll coat you in my dazzling white; if you hand me your crimson stains. If we admit our spiritual laundry’s filth, its indelible stains—illogically choosing, “Have mercy on me, a sinner”—rather than presenting our dingy attempt at our brightest whites, our reasons our “laundry” bests everyone else’s.
It’s this humility, and soul-level honesty that opens us to accept the deluge of grace with arms spread wide. Elvina conceded, “I’ll wash my garments white in the blood of Calvary’s Lamb.”
I’m now scrubbed clean, my nakedness shrouded in a snow-silvered splendor I couldn’t buy or even conceive for myself. Will you happily hand over your “laundry?”
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22