Thursday, October 23, 2008

"Pencil Erasers"

In 1994 I was privileged to go on a mission trip to Brazil with the Singing ChurchWomen of Oklahoma. We took Bibles to give to the Brazilian people we met, as well as several small items such as book-markers, ink pens, notepads, etc. One of their favorite items to receive was a pencil. I was perplexed and wondered why they'd want an ordinary pencil more than the other things we were giving away. Finally, someone told us that the pencils the Brazilians used usually had no erasers. They wanted the pencils because of the erasers!

Think what it is like when you are writing with a pencil and make a mistake. Without an eraser, there's not a lot you can do to correct the problem. Unless someone comes along with a bottle of white-out fluid or loans you an eraser, your mistake is not fixable. About the best you can do without these correction tools is to scratch out your mistake with the pencil lead and try again. This leaves an ugly spot and spoils the appearance of what you're doing. Sometimes we do have an eraser on our pencil, yet if it is old and hard, it leaves a mark of its own and makes the mistake worse. Occasionally, we wad up the paper in frustration and start over with a fresh, clean page.

Sin in our lives is similar to writing the word “S-I-N” in the darkest, biggest letters we can on the cleanest, whitest paper we have. When we realize what we’ve done, we may try to erase the sin. As hard as we try, there is always something left on the paper to indicate that sin was there. Occasionally we get the mark of sin erased, yet there are indentations left on the paper. Even using a white-out fluid won’t cover these indentations in the paper. There is nothing left to do but to get a fresh, clean sheet of paper and start over.

Jesus is the only one who can totally erase sin in our lives. When our hearts are hardened with past, unforgiven sin we only make things more unacceptable by trying to erase sin ourselves. Our best efforts to remove sin make things worse--like using an old, hard eraser. There is no solution we can provide to fix the sin problem in our lives. Only Jesus can totally erase it or rub it out. He's the only one with an eraser that works perfectly. He’s also the only one who can give us a fresh, clean start in our lives.

The scarring indentations of sin are still upon our hearts, showing us the consequences of sin. Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God is willing to forgive and erase sin in our lives and to give each of us a new heart so we can start over. Because He totally forgives and completely forgets our sin, it’s far better than trying to use our own eraser or a white-out fluid. Once we realize our self-efforts are unacceptable, all we have to do is ask God for His help. It’s as if God gives us a new, clean piece of paper on which to start over. Our hearts are clean, white and pure only because of Him.

"Dear God,
I know that I am a sinner and that I cannot erase sin from my heart and life by myself. I make things worse when I try to cover up my sin and I need Your help. Please forgive me of my sin and create a new, clean heart in me.
In Jesus' Name I pray,

© by Janet Faye Broyles 09-29-04 & 10-23-08 Edmond, Oklahoma
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