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Sunday, May 19, 2024


Called By Any Other Name

By Amy Patsch

I put a pen in my shirt pocket the other day, meaning to drop it off in the pen jar when I got inside the house. Of course, I forgot the pen entirely, and started dinner and then threw the shirt into the wash. Yes, I did.  

Three days later, when I washed that shirt, along with Neil’s dress shirts, oh my, what a mess came out of the washer. Of course, I didn’t notice the mess until I pulled the first shirt from the dryer and had already reloaded and started the washer. 

At that point, I had to stop the washer, which had already filled with water, and pull each item out wringing wet, until I finally located the pen. The pen was empty of its ink, which was no surprise, as the damage had already been done. 

There were ever so many black ink spots in various places on three dress shirts, some as big as a half dollar, as well as smaller spots on my favorite blouse (although there were none on the shirt that contributed to the inky deed). 

Of course, it was a mistake – an accident. I would not have intentionally destroyed three perfectly good shirts and a blouse (especially one of Neil’s favorite shirts). You can imagine I was more than a bit irritated with myself and at times like these, I tend to use words such as ‘stupid, stupid, stupid!’    

But I really wasn’t stupid, as I did not deliberately wash the pen with the shirts – it was what most of us would call a stupid mistake.  

Calling the mistake stupid is a lot better than calling myself stupid.   

This brought to mind a wonderful testimony I heard at a Christian woman’s seminar. The speaker told us, “Never, ever call yourself a name that your Heavenly Father would not call you, otherwise you disparage His love for you.” 

What a beautiful thought. God loves me so very much that He would never call me anything other than ‘Amy, His beloved child.’ I might make the occasional stupid mistake, but I am still His child, and He still loves me. 

So, yes, this was a stupid mistake to make. I should have kept the pen in my hand until I entered the house, but I didn’t, and I am paying (quite literally) for the results. 

Of course, I have tried various remedies that I viewed on the internet to remove the stains. I believe I can salvage my blouse and two dress shirts, but the other shirt seems doomed to become a painting shirt for Neil’s use in the garage. 

While I was hard at work removing ink stains, I saw a similarity of our walk with God. I thought, isn’t it nice that we don’t get so soiled with big, black, sin ink spots that we can’t be cleaned when we repent. Once we ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior, that wonderful miracle happens where the holy red blood that Jesus shed on Calvary washes us clean as snow.Halleluiah!    

From that time on, when we sin and have those ink spots blocking our view of God, we can ask God to forgive us and clear our vision. Our true repentance and that very action of Jesus dying for us once and for all is the key to unlocking God’s forgiveness.  

God sees us through Jesus’ work of salvation and does not see us through our ugly ink spot mistakes. 

God is happy to wash away those black spots, so that we can see Him clearly, and He provides all of us with His gift of grace. Once we have committed our lives to Jesus, His work begins in us. We are required to do nothing more.   

But, in our hearts and souls, just as when we love a child or a spouse and we are excited to do things that bring them joy, it is the same with our love for Jesus in that we are excited to do things for Him. We love to do His will, as He teaches us to be His hands and feet on Earth.   

Knowing Jesus brings a smile to our faces because He loves us back so wonderfully. We want to please Him because He cares for us so well. The more we know Jesus, the less those nasty sin ink spots appear in our lives. As we obey and follow Jesus’ pattern for our lives, we are becoming more like Him every day.  

This, of course, is our goal, as God tells us in Scripture to “Be Holy as I am Holy.”   

Those of us who trust in Jesus are so very blessed by the assurance of our salvation and our future life with Him in heaven.    

Even though I made a really stupid mistake with the pen, the thoughts God brought to my mind while I was cleaning the shirts were quite lovely – thoughts of God’s merciful grace to me. 

Two wonderful things to remember are that God loves us dearly, so we should never call ourselves (or another) by a name that He would not use; and God can and does forgive our sins no matter how darkly spotted we have become. We just need to ask Him! 

ED. NOTE: Amy Patsch writes from Ocean City.Email her 

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