This week is the Feast of Unleavened Bread. It started Monday at sundown and will continue until sundown of next Monday. This is the week that God commands us to remove all the chametz, the leaven, from our homes and eat only unleavened bread. This is, of course, a physical representation of what we should be doing spiritually. In scripture leaven represents sin. So as we remove the leaven from our cupboards, we should also be searching our lives, removing the sin from our hearts and minds.
Father has been showing me a lot this week about sin, and how insidious it is, and I'd like to share one such experience today. I washed a load of baby/toddler laundry yesterday. At the last minute, I threw in Ahava's new sundress, a navy blue affair with white polka dots. I had a second of hesitation about it, thinking that the color might bleed onto the other clothing, but shrugged it off and decided it was probably colorfast. Boy was I wrong.
This morning I went back to the basement to work on laundry again. I emptied jeans from the dryer, then started pulling baby clothes out of the washer and tossing them in the dryer. I pulled the dress out first, then other clothes. Sure enough, blue stains were all over Ahava's new summer clothes! I muttered, "Oh, no! It's all over everything!"
And God said, "Just like sin, it affects everything it touches." Wow. That was profound. That's how I know it was God, because that wouldn't have just come to me.
You may think you can isolate one sin, allow one little indulgence, but know this: that sin affects everyone and everything it touches. According to Paul (1 Cor 5:6), "A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough." A little sin ruins everything else. And just like those blue stains, after sin has entered, it's sometimes very difficult to remove completely.
I pulled all the clothes (except the dress) from the dryer and rewashed them with lots of stain treatment. And I thanked God for the lesson. I'm back at the drawing board today, searching, asking God to show me places where I've been complacent about sin in my life and in the lives of those that I've allowed to influence me. Unwise associations, some of which I've foolishly sought out myself. I think it's time for me to take another scriptural principle to heart, one spoken of frequently in Proverbs, that we should be selective of the counsel that we keep.
Just like a plague or an infectious disease, sin spreads from person to person. We sometimes unwittingly infect ourselves with the hands we shake, the communal air we breathe...the company we keep. No wonder God was so adamant about removing the sin from the camp, about isolating the unclean for seven days, then re-examining it to see if it was still unclean. Perhaps we, the body of Christ, should apply this principle to our own lives and to the church in general.
Have we become complacent about sin? Have we winked at sin, allowed ungodliness in any measure to enter the body? If so, we've leavened the whole body. After all, a little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough.
It's time that we remove the leaven, that we search our hearts and ask God to do the same, so that we might see clearly and remove speedily any impurity that keeps us from reflecting His likeness. Yes, certainly there is grace, and we should extend that grace to others. But as Paul said (Rom. 6:1-2), grace is not an excuse to sin. A little sin infects the entire body. As we extend grace, we can also stand firm in our convictions and refuse to allow sin in the camp. The two can go hand in hand...grace and purity. Mercy and godliness. For we see a perfect combination of the two in Christ. His purpose was not just to show us mercy and grace without limit, but to cleanse us of all unrighteousness so that we could stand pure and spotless before God.
A precious friend and I were talking today about what happens when you are faced with sin. You must deal with it. Sin that is not dealt with grows, multiplies, spreads like a cancer. A gut-wrenching example of this concept is King David's failure to deal with the sins of his firstborn son, Amnon. Recorded in 2 Samuel 13, the repercussions of Amnon's sin and David's inaction were felt for years, throughout the land of Israel, and included a national revolt and much bloodshed. One sin unchecked infected all of Israel. A little leaven leavens the whole lump of dough. So what should we do? Get the sin out of the camp.