I visited my least favorite place last week—the dentist. Nothing like a root canal and a new crown to bring back childhood memories of drilling and fillings. As I reclined in the chair listening to the terrifying noises, I began to grin (well, the best I could in the dentist’s chair).
My thoughts drifted back to elementary school and the health seminars on the proper way to brush our teeth. At the conclusion of the presentation, each child was handed a packet of little red, chewable tablets. I clutched mine eagerly, anxious to get home to my toothbrush.
After school, I’d dash home, push through the front door, and race down the hall to the bathroom. I’d brush and scrub until I believed I had done an immaculate job of cleaning my teeth. Then I’d rip open my treasure and chew the tablets to see if I had missed any places. To my dismay, my teeth would gleam red and pink. Do you remember?
As my dental work continued, my thoughts turned to a spiritual application. Am I ever as concerned about scouring myself clean from the world as much as I was when I brushed my teeth as a child? Am I diligent to floss away the plaque of pride or envy? Do I swirl mouthwash to cleanse my criticism and complaining? Am I meticulous about protecting my thoughts each morning and night?
What would all of our hearts look like if there were little red tablets that could reveal their cleanliness? I’m glad that Jesus cleansed us on the cross because I’m afraid that without His scrubbing brush all you would see on me would be splotches of pink and red.
If you’re like me, it’s easy to beat yourself up when you know full well that you’ve messed up. We don’t need those little red brushing pills to remind us of our spots and blemishes. That’s why 1 John 1:9 remains one of my favorite verses in the entire Bible. It says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
What that promise tells me is that God knows my shortcomings and how easily I put a stain on my heart. Yet I don’t have to carry the guilt, the shame, and the torture of beating myself up. I love knowing that when I simply confess my sin, He is quick to the rescue to not only forgive me but to clean the slate. He removes all of the splotches and makes me so gleaming white that I glow in the dark.
About Shelley Pulliam
Howdy! (A girl from Oklahoma has to use this as her greeting) I’m Shelley Pulliam, executive director of Arise Ministries and former teacher of hormone-filled 8th graders. But my real claim to fame rests in my award as second grade spelling bee champ and my recent gun-handling skills as I train to competition shoot. It helps me be on guard when Satan comes knocking. I’m a voracious reader and can frequently be found at the theater enjoying movie marathons where my record stands at six in one day. I’m a single, never married, who loves to pour into children at every opportunity. Let me know if you have any for sale. You can connect with me on social media. https://www.instagram.com/shelleypulliam/