“Now what do you have?” I muttered to the dog from the other room, as if he understood, and as if I actually expected an answer. I stomped around the corner in to the living room, where the dog sat, crouched over chewing on something small. His “dietary indiscretion” (as the Vet calls it) had gone too far. Socks, candy wrappers and children’s toys were one thing, but blue food coloring – he had crossed the line for me.
Ugh. I could have screamed. Actually, I think I did. Splattered in an uneven display on my tan patterned area rug were bright blue blotches of color. The dog, responding to my "not so happy" tone of voice, sprinted for the kennel. I followed close on his heals, and dislodged the vessel from his mouth, leaving a dog with a very blue tongue and a look of bewilderment on his face.
My friend Pat came to the rescue. Pat knows every trick and can clean everything. She sprayed stain remover, and patted, and scrubbed, and patted, and sprayed. Most of it came up, but one rather large spot remained, lighter in color, but noticeably present, smack in the middle of the rug.
Throughout the day I saw remnants of the blue food coloring on my hands, and on my rug, and I began to think. Sometimes when the sin of someone else touches our lives in a significant way, consequences occur, and sometimes they remain, like a stain. It can be forgiven (and needs to be in good time) but it may not be forgotten. There may be long term consequences that we are faced to deal with, and it is hard and a great amount of grief may be experienced in the process.
Perhaps, dear reader, you have experienced this in your life. I don’t like having to suffer the consequences of someone else’s sin (my own is difficult enough to deal with). Our lives can forever be marked by some of these circumstances. Nor totally ruined by it, but changed by it.
It feels unfair – it is unfair. So, what do we do? How do we respond when we are reaping the consequences of another person’s sin? Galatians 6:7-9 says, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
In the process of living in this stained life we can make choices to continue to sow love, obedience and trust in the Lord, through the power of the Holy Spirit which dwells in us. He will give us the grace and strength to “do good.” Action by action, word by word, thought by thought, we can sow the seeds of seeking God and pleasing Him in all things, amidst the pain. The truth is, we may still grieve the effects of sin, but we choose to walk in the light of His love.
The stains in our lives may change the landscape of our lives. Sometimes, they are big, and sometimes they are small. Either way, God has it all under control. He will not be mocked; no one makes a fool of God. Dear reader, love, obey and trust God. Let the Spirit do the work in you, to grow you. Choose to “do good” and do not give up. Do not shrink back in fear, but step out in faith and allow God to use the stain to transform you. Who knows the blessings that may be harvested?