I told you I love my laundry room, right? Too much? Maybe. It’s amazing how much can be learned there really. Lets think about the process of doing laundry…to wash and cleanse, right? Pre-soak and treat, get the stains out, and dry. Simple enough.
Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32
He who covers an offense promotes love, but whoever repeats the matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9
Recently, I got an email from someone who was facing some pretty big challenges. One of the analogies he used was dirty laundry. He said that as a Christian, it was his job to point out a particular individual’s shortcomings, flaws and faults and to correct that person(s) if they were living outside of God’s will. Using Matthew 18 to justify his methods, he felt he should expose this person to anyone and everyone who would listen. In his laundry analogy, he said that “the sheets don’t get clean by shoving them in a closet and forgetting about them.” Hmmm. No. No, they don’t. But, last time I checked, spreading them out on the front lawn for passers-by to view, identifying each stain and exposing how they occurred, and heaping mud on them didn’t clean them either.
“A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.” (Galatians 5:9) It is true that in a body of believers, in a family, in a marriage, or in any given individual- unrepentant sin and the consequences of sin will fester and grow if left unchecked. REPENT. Matthew 18 outlines a very important process when it comes to addressing a fellow believer who has sinned against you. I don’t believe God intended for us to take out a billboard to address a friend, family member or spouse’s sin. In the case of marital discord, disagreements among friends or co-workers and general offenses there are avenues that God may have us seek. I opened my Bible looking for a response, and between the pages and mingled among the wealth of wisdom, some verses presented themselves quickly.
If one falls down his friend can help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Live in harmony with one another, be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil for evil or insult with insult, but blessing, because you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:8-9
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse…..Do not repay evil for evil…Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:14-21
Brothers, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against his brother or judges him speaks against the law and judges it….There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you- who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:11-12
There is a bounty of scripture that instructs us to forgive, encourage, edify and speak in love. If you ever find yourself in a situation where someone has wronged you, I encourage you to turn to the Bible first. Pray. I am by no means suggesting that one turn a blind eye if a brother or sister in Christ is headed down the wrong path. However, forgiveness is a big word and something I have had a lot of experience with…giving and receiving. It’s not easy, but it is liberating to forgive and be forgiven. Don’t you think? (Certainly a blog for another day.) Finally, remember that if the person you are at odds with is a non-Christian, your behavior toward them may be a big part of your witness to them or the people around them.
In the meantime, consider helping a friend with a load of laundry that may be overwhelming to them. Gather it up carefully, don’t judge the stains, pre-treat them according to the Word and pray that the Lord Jesus do the cleansing.