A coffee spill on our carpet was proving to be difficult to get out. I harkened back to my high school English class. A zealous teacher made us memorize many lines from Shakespeare. One line came to mind: ‘Out, damned spot!’
In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is trying to wash imaginary blood from her hands. Even today, we talk metaphorically of those who are guilty of some terrible crime of having ‘blood on their hands’. Although Lady Macbeth’s hands are physically clean, they are figuratively stained with her guilt. “Here’s yet a spot,” she cries, desperately rubbing. “Here’s the small of blood still.”
Guilt can be an all-consuming thing. There are abundant signs that we live in a guilt-ridden culture. Alcohol and drug addiction has exploded through our ranks. Depression and suicide rates have skyrocketed and touched almost every family. Counselors, social workers, and psychiatrists are overloaded. Anti-depression medications flow like water. It seems like things are getting worse. Is there an answer to the guilt and anxiety of our day?
Yes! Like the woman in the Bible who crawled through the crowd to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment, we can be delivered of our affliction. Mark reports that, “She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.” (Mark 5:26, NIV). Then she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment and was healed: “He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering” (v.34).
The spots that sin and guilt leave on our lives will not yield to ordinary cleaning – they require a supernatural act of God. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9, NIV).
God has a word for our troubled times:
- “Come now, 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 become like wool” (Isaiah 1:18, ESV).
- “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7, ESV).
- “Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out…” (Acts 3:19, ESV).
Oh, how I love the hymn ‘Just As I Am’! Especially dear to me are these words:
Just as I am and waiting not
To rid my soul of one dark blot;
To Thee whose blood can cleanse each spot,
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!
Petition: Lord, if there are sin stains in my life that I cannot get rid of, help me to know that if I confess my sins, you are faithful and just to forgive my sins and cleanse me from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
~ Brother Roy