Despite the looks of this “kitchen” sink, I hate dirty dishes. One of my biggest household pet peeves is a sink full of dishes (especially coming home to it). Yet, this seems to be the continual state of my sink. We all know how this pile starts: one dish at a time. I was running late and left without enough time to clean my breakfast dish. Next, I forgot to pack lunch, so I ran back to eat something and didn’t have time to clean that dish either. Then I came in late for dinner and didn’t feel like cleaning up after such a long day…and so the cycle continues! After a couple days of letting dishes pile up, washing dishes becomes quite the chore. Instead of being able to quickly scrub down a bowl of oatmeal, I now find myself having to wrestle with each dish.
This week these dishes seem to be an appropriate reminder of sin.
Like dishes, sin starts small. We justify that first dish, saying, “It’s just this one morning. I’ll wash it when I get home.” Similarly, we justify that first bad thought, saying, “It’s just this one time. I won’t let it go any further.” But without intentional redirection (repentance), that one dish (or one sin) quickly piles up. A week later, that one dish (or one sin) is now a mountain that seems impossible to conquer. Now satan whispers, “Why even bother?” or “You can’t get out now.” My first semester in New Orleans, a girl graduating literally contemplated throwing away all her dirty dishes rather than washing them to move back home. As ridiculous as that sounds, that’s the mindset we so often adopt when considering sin.
But let this graduating seminarian be an example to us. First, she was vulnerable with her friends. She didn’t just secretly box her dirty dishes up and take them to the dumpster. She told her friends about her struggle, which was undoubtedly embarrassing. Second, she took her friends’ advice with grace. She didn’t throw the dirty dishes back at her friends, she washed them. She began conquering the pile the same way she started: one dish at a time.
This week, a professor here died because of sin he let build up without confiding in anyone. Died. Although I still believe this man is in Heaven with Jesus based on his relationship with Him, his actions had irreversible consequences. Instead of sharing his struggles of pornography and depression with his friends, he chose to walk in darkness alone. He took his own life as a result, leaving tons of grieving friends and family behind. Finishing a well-ran race poorly.
Whether your dish is a thought, image, relationship, or something entirely different, please share those things with others. Do not live in secrecy. And let us become a Church filled with sponges, ready to help our friends clean their sinks with Jesus (the Soap, the only One who can make us clean). Ready to forgive, embrace, and empower those who confess.