Cleaning products are supposed to make things clean and germ free, right? But did you know that cleaning products can actually be the vehicle for spreading soil and germs? Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? How can cleaning products make things soiled or contaminated?
Well, consider what recently happened with a high-end line of cleaning products, sold under the name The Laundress, which recently had to recall nearly 8 million units of products, including laundry detergents, stain removers, and surface cleaners, because they potentially were infected with dangerous bacteria with really long, hard to pronounce names — like Burkolderia Cepacia Complex, Klebsiella Aerogenes and Pseudomonas.
Safety regulators said consumers should "immediately stop" using all referenced products and immediately return them for refund.
Or considered another similar incident just months prior when the Clorox company — the King of Clean, right?! — had to recall a variety of Pine Sol cleaning products because of the risk of bacteria.
In both cases, the very products designed and marketed to clean our filth, and thus keep us healthier, were actually spreading germs that could kill us.
Can you say irony?
Sadly, there is a spiritual parallel taking place in human hearts every minute of every day, as we make our feeble attempts to wash ourselves, purge ourselves of the stain of sin.
We attempt to scrub our soiled souls with the detergent made of our own human efforts, good works, and well intentions. We try to wash away past and present sin with the stain remover of pious acts or legalistic mandates. Yet for all our effort, we are simply injecting more sin, more soil, more contamination into the mix. And just like those contaminated cleaning products, our own self-righteous efforts can (and will!) kill us.
Scripture is clear — ALL our righteous deeds are like smelly, filthy rags in the nostrils of the Lord (Isaiah 64:6). The more we try to clean ourselves, the filthier we become.
There is only One cleaning solution fit to remove the stain of our soiled souls, and that is the cleansing power of the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Himself.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. … If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:7,9 ESV).
During the years of “Prohibition” (1920 - 1933), when the manufacture, sale, or use of alcohol was illegal, moonshiners and bootleggers would go to great lengths to evade police notice and capture. One of their more creative strategies was to wear cow “hoof” risers attached to the bottoms of their shoes to throw law enforcement off their trail.
Nothing to see here, folks. Just a bunch of cows wondering around in these woods.
The ploy was, at least initially, fairly effective, until Law Enforcement caught on and begin taking a closer look at all those meandering cow tracks. A 1922 article published in the Florida Evening Independent reported the following
Tampa, May 27 .—A new method of evading prohibition agents was revealed here today by A.L. Allen, state prohibition enforcement director, who displayed what he called a "cow shoe" as the latest thing from the haunts of moonshiners. The cow shoe is a strip of metal to which is tacked a wooden block carved to resemble the hoof of a cow, which may be strapped to the human foot. A man shod with a pair of them would leave a trail resembling that of a cow. The shoe found was picked up near Port Tampa where a still was located some time ago. It will be sent to the prohibition department at Washington. Officers believe the inventor got his idea from a Sherlock Holmes story in which the villain shod his horse with shoes the imprint of which resembled those of a cow's hoof.
Ingenious, really. But clever as they thought they were, their sin was eventually found out.
To what lengths will you go to evade being found out in your sin? In what ways are you attempting to cover your tracks? Rest assured, you too will eventually be found out.
“For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all” (Luke 8:17, NLT, cf Luke 12:2).
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight; everything is uncovered and exposed before the eyes of Him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13, NIV).
Most of you have probably noticed the growing government trends to distribute “safer” supplies for those who engage in “risky” behaviors, such as promiscuous sexual acts, drug use, etc. Here’s just a sampling of some of their efforts:
- The US CDC touts that, “Condom availability programs (CAPs) began in the early 1990s and are one way schools can help prevent HIV, STD, and pregnancy among teens.”
- The US CDC currently sponsors SSPs (Syringe Services Programs) for “Needs-based Distribution” of clean syringes for IV drug users, “as the evidence shows that this is the best practice for reducing new HIV and viral hepatitis infections.”
- The Canada Interior Health Department produces helpful “Harm Reduction Pamphlets” for everything from “safer” sex techniques and supplies, to “safer” shoot-up advice for IV drug users, and “safer” smoking guidance for crack cocaine tokers.
- And most recently the current US administration has gone beyond helpful pamphlets, to distributing Safe Smoking Kits to meth heads and crack addicts they deem in danger of burns and injuries from their unsafe smoking apparatus. While the administration has feverishly tried to deny having gone as far as to even include “safe crack pipes” in these kits, investigation has proven otherwise, says investigative reporters at the Washington Free Beacon:
“While the contents of safe-smoking kits vary from one organization to another—and while those from some organizations may not contain crack pipes—all of the organizations we visited made crack pipes as well as paraphernalia for the use of heroin, cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine readily available without requiring or offering rehabilitation services, suggesting that pipes are included in many if not most of the kits distributed across the country.”
These various programs cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars to execute.
While all these “harm reduction” techniques might make sense on some earthly level, they make absolutely zero sense on any spiritual level. You see, there is no program, no measure — not at any cost — which can mitigate the harm of sin.
The Scripture is clear, “The wages of sin is death.” We must not seek to mitigate the “harm” of it; rather, we must seek to irradiate it.
This principle is true not only for the “big,” obvious sins of promiscuous sexual activity or drug abuse and addiction. This principle is true for ALL sin. Lies (even “white lies”) are deceptions, and can lead to betrayals of trust and broken relationships. Unfaithfulness, covetousness, greed, envy, gossip, malice, etc., etc., etc., will all erode the soul, ruin lives (your own and others’), will destroy relationships with others, and most importantly, with Lord Himself.
Sin is always harmful. Full stop. Want to protect yourself and others? Flee sin and temptation.
“Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:15, ESV).
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (I Corinthians 6:9-11, ESV).
“Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin” (John 8:34, ESV).
“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry …” ( Colossians 3:5, ESV).
“The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires” (Romans 6:10-12, NIV).