My father was a disciplinarian of few words, and I always tried to heed his sharp commands. However underneath Dad’s gruff exterior was a sensitive and loving man. When walking together he would sometimes say “Watch where you are putting your feet, Son,” and then with a sinister whisper, as if the matter was almost unspeakable he would add ….“Dog muck”.
One day, out with my mates on our bikes, I jumped off and put my foot right in the middle of a large pile! In the desperate attempt to clean my shoe, I transferred some to the other shoe. Bruce and Richard rode off, laughing. I jumped back on my bike to follow them, transferring the offending material onto the pedals of my bike.
Dad had just finished mowing the lawn when I arrived home and of course he noticed the unwelcome addition to my shoes and bike. I expected a good telling off probably starting with the phrase “How many times have I told you….” Instead he just said “Wait here”. I was rooted to the spot.
He returned with a bucket of very hot water, disinfectant and cleaning materials. Without a word he knelt down and cleaned my shoes and the bike until they were pristine again. Then he smiled and walked away, leaving me to put my bike in the shed.
Had he told me off, I would probably have forgotten this moment in my childhood. It was his kind silent action that made it so memorable.
Our loving Heavenly Father constantly warns us about the ways we can go wrong in our lives. But when we do get it wrong, and “put our foot in it” (to say the least!) our Heavenly Father does what my dad did for me, he gets rid of the mess.
Paul writes to readers who have not been sinless in the past. (I Cor 6:11) “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 Cor 6:11)
So when we step into trouble we should remember what the writer to the Hebrews reminds us to do. “let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water”.
I will never forget what my dad did for me that day, and as a result I was even more careful of where I stepped in the future! As I think about what God, our Heavenly Father, did for us through Jesus, I am encouraged to walk as carefully as I can in His clean ways. Roger