My mom stooped by today with some scraps for our pigs. It must have been just one of her errands for the day, because she happened to be wearing white pants. I'm sure it seemed okay to her, since she was just tossing the scraps across the fence, and the pigs were safely on the other side. However, as she lingered, talking with Jerry, one of the piglets got in the way of the big pig, Penelope, and she gave him a toss with her snout. As the little pig bounced against the fence, fresh mud splattered all over Mom's white pants!
Many of our friends and family are excited about our new pigs, and they want to be helpful by bringing by food scraps, but we can't expect to feed muddy pigs without getting a little dirty. Likewise, we can't expect to be active in loving others if we aren't willing to get a little messy. As believers, we have been washed white as snow, but when we wash the dirty feet of fellow travelers, as Jesus demonstrated, some of the dust is bound to rub off.
God does ask us to be cleansed and rid of our filthy garments of sin, but He never suggests that we shouldn't brush up against sinners in the midst of our busy lives. Instead, he sets for us an example of just the opposite, showing us how to act in love by eating with tax collectors, touching lepers, and accepting an anointing by a woman with a questionable reputation. Love - real love - is messy.
Of course, after Mom got home, she spent some time with a stain stick, cleaning the mud from her pants. Time with Father will do the same for us. No matter how much filth gets slung or how much dust rubs off, the blood of Jesus keeps us clean and restores to us our righteousness.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.