james ray johnson

My mother-in-law lived in a home that was last updated during the Eisenhower administration.   One day she came into a little money and decided to freshen up her long-neglected living room.

The walls were begging for fresh paint, so my dad and I volunteered our brushes and went after it. The dingy, quickly gave way to the bright and beautiful. 

She began with a professional carpet cleaning.  The carpet was of a high-quality which was a very dark shade of gray, except it wasn’t.  The cleaning made it five shades lighter.  Did I mention years of neglect? 

We happily worked our way around the room until we came to a triangular-shaped corner cabinet.   We needed to move it to paint behind it, but Margaret wouldn’t hear of it. 

She wanted us to just paint around it.  We were puzzled of course!  What was she hiding? A wall safe? Letters from a high school sweetheart?  A portal to Narnia? 

The more we insisted, the louder her protest.  But dad and I were thorough types, so we ignored her and pulled out the cabinet from the wall.   We were stunned by what we found.

There, on the carpet, was a perfectly formed, filthy, black triangle where the cabinet had stood.  It looked a giant rug tattoo.  The cabinet had clearly not been moved for many years.  

I guess she won the argument with the carpet cleaner.  He was forced to clean around it.

Aw but don’t judge my mother-in-law. She is no different than the rest of us.  What she did to her carpet, we do to our souls. 

Jesus is our carpet cleaner.  His job is to cleanse us from the filth of sin.  The Bible employs the word “wash” to describe what He does for us. (1 Cor 6:11, Heb. 10:22)   How wonderful?  Who doesn’t like to be freshly showered? 

I remember when I first experienced that cleansing. I sought his forgiveness for the things I had stolen, for the people I had hurt, and for rejecting Him and His will for my life.  He forgave me and washed me clean.  The stains of sin were dissolved by His rich mercy and grace.  I felt spiritually fresh.

But, like my mother-in-law, I gave Jesus limited access to my soul.  There was still a small corner that I protected – a filthy spot that was “hidden” from the Lord and the people around me. It was a corner too troublesome to touch and embarrassing to explore.

Pride was the stronghold that continued to accumulate grime beneath my cabinet. 

That was mine!  What’s yours?  Do you harbor bitterness toward your parent(s) or maybe a former love interest?  Do your insecurities compel you to compromise your purity?  Are you strangled by guilt over that secret abortion?   Do you wake up at night wondering if that fatherless boy is actually your child?  It’s uncomfortable – isn’t it? 

We did my mother-in-law a favor when we removed the cabinet.  Once the spot finally saw the light of day, we applied a soapy brush to it.  It dried to look as good as the rest of the carpet.  She was greatly relieved and genuinely delighted.

Sin is very much like that.  It needs to first be exposed.   For a year after I came to Christ, pride lurked in that dark corner of my heart.  But then Jesus pulled back the mask. His Spirit weighed down my spirit until I confessed it and surrendered it to Him. 

Heads up!  Think of this blog as God’s way of moving the cabinet that conceals your sin.  He seeks your permission now to mercifully clean up your mess.

What you need to know, was written in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.”  -NET Bible®. (with the emphasis on all!)

Consider the text to the old hymn: “Come ye sinners, poor and needy; Bruised and broken by the fall. Jesus ready stands to save you; Full of pardoning love for all.” 

Listen to the song link below and consider the words above and then surrender that stubborn dark spot to the Lord Jesus.   You’ll be greatly relieved and genuinely delighted if you do.

Come Ye Sinners: guitar and arrangement Jim Johnson