By Pastor Dwight Sullivan
Recently I saw an interesting report concerning dirty hands. The article triggered in my mind parallels with spiritual truths.
The report tells about an event during the 2012 campaign in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Africa. Members there with CHE (Community Health Evangelism) were sharing about a UN program for the whole country to learn the value of proper hand washing. In Congo they call the September 15 date, “The Day of Dirty Hands.”
The children listening were amazed. They learned you can get sick through having dirty hands! The children asked, “What kind of trouble from not washing hands?” Their hands didn’t look so bad!
Their Sunday school teacher told them that it has to do with prevention. Germs and dirt can carry disease through your hands. This can lead to you getting sick. It can cost money; medicines sometimes fail.
Who has dirty hands? We all can! How easy it is to get germs from shaking hands or even handling money. That is why we need to clean them constantly, especially in flu season.
This truth set me to thinking about spiritual matters. Psalm 24 asks who has right standing with the LORD? 3 … who shall stand in his holy place?
Listen to the psalmist’s answer: 4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart …
To have clean hands means more than to possess physically sanitary hands. It is of course talking about being blameless in doing bad deeds.
Who has dirty hands? We all come spiritually before the LORD with dirty hands. The Bible tells us, 3 If You, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? (Psalm 130)
The Bible tells us the truth. All have sinned and come short of the glory of God. None are righteous, no, not one. Not one of us can stand before the LORD claiming clean hands.
HOW DO I GET RID OF MY DIRTY HANDS?
“How do I get rid of my dirty hands?” the African kids asked. The Sunday School teacher told them, “Wash clean with water, soap and good hard rubbing.” Not difficult. Once you recognize your condition, you are at least half way there to help.
How do you get rid of your dirty hands when it is spiritual dirt- sin? Jesus tells us the answer: You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. (John 15:3) We are made clean by Jesus.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5) Christ is the one who makes it possible to have clean hands and a pure heart before God.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH HANDS MADE CLEAN?
When the children in the Congo village heard about the goal of teaching everyone in the country on Sept. 15 about dirty hands, they realized that many of adults were too busy to teach other adults. But children might be able to! Listening to the children’s suggestions, a CHE trainer mobilized 100 Sunday school kids from 5 churches.
On Sept. 15, 2012, the children paired off and visited houses. They were received well; some adults even asked where they had learned these things.
Later when TV crewmen came to village, they asked a child leader why they did this when no one was paying them? The reply: “How could I love my neighbors if I did not care that they were getting sick from not washing their hands?”
In the same way spiritually from the LORD Jesus, we have a mandate to reach the world with the good news that He brings salvation. We are to share about the free gift of eternal life that Jesus offers. What a truly loving thing to do to offer them Jesus!
If He is the one who brings a new life, clean hands and a pure heart, the gift of eternal life, then the greatest thing you can do is to offer Christ to others.
Might it be fair to rephrase the African child’s wisdom: “How could I love my neighbors if I did not care that they were getting problems from not knowing Jesus?”
Who has dirty hands? I do! Everyone does!
Who cleans our dirty hands? Jesus
What do you do with clean hands? You use them to help people
know about Jesus.
3 You are already made clean by the word which I have spoken to you. – Jesus (John 15)
Dwight Sullivan is pastor of the Whittier Evangelical United Methodist Church on the corner of Lambert Street and Colima Road