By Sara Parker
A few days before returning from a recent family trip, I got a call from the friend who was caring for our animals while we were away. She broke the news that our dog had apparently done her business all over the game room upstairs.
I told my friend not to worry about it—we’d take care of the mess when we came home. I assumed she was blowing things out of proportion. Our dog never makes a mess in the house. Surely it couldn’t be that bad.
Oh, but it was.
Very, very bad.
I was horrified, actually. It appeared that our sweet border collie-bassett hound mix had traveled the room in a circle, dumping wherever she wanted. The clean-up would be dirty, difficult, and time consuming.
My husband and I took turns working on the stains over the course of several days until I gave up. I’d been wanting to get the carpets professionally cleaned since we moved into the house a half-year ago, so I picked up the phone and called a carpet cleaning service.
The cleaners arrived and I was thrilled, waiting expectantly for the clean, fresh look of our very old rug. Two hours later, it was time for the walk-through. I immediately headed for the game room, where I was shocked to find the stains looking only a couple of shades lighter than before. My walk-through of the rest of the house yielded the same result.
When the men left the house, I felt sick at the amount of money I had just wasted. So I drove myself to the store and bought yet another bottle of carpet cleaner. I set to work on the big stains myself.
For your viewing pleasure (brace yourself), here is a picture of one of the bigger stains in the game room, AFTER the cleaning company left:
And here is a photo of the same spot, after I attacked it one more time by myself:
I had the same results with four other spots until I finally gathered my courage and called the company to complain. They are scheduled to come back and re-do the cleaning today.
But I got to thinking about these stains, and how I had worked so hard until I’d given up, but they hadn’t gone away. And then how I’d paid a dear price to get someone else to do my dirty work—but the stains remained. Only by persistence and a lot of elbow grease did those stains finally begin to release their hold on my carpet.
Like that old sinful habit that won’t go away.You work at it, and it begins to fade, but still it remains. You humble yourself and confide it to a friend, to a trusted spiritual advisor, to God himself, and it fades still more, but doesn’t disappear. And there you can leave it to grow darker as you tread over it day after day. Or you can persist and break a sweat and resolve to erase it from your life once and for all. It might dissolve completely, and fade away, or it might leave a faint shadow to remind you of a place you never want to visit again.
If you are carrying a sin that you have tried time and again to overcome, battle it like you would a nasty stain in the middle of your living room floor. Dig a little deeper, pray persistently, ask for forgiveness, repent, and find a trustworthy friend to hold you accountable. Then watch it fade away by the grace of God. I assure you, He is much mightier than the carpet company I employed.
“Hide they face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, Oh God; and renew a right spirit within me.” ~Psalm 51:9-10