Doctors haven’t always been the best example of cleanliness. For many centuries, they did not even believe in the existence of germs—how did one believe in what they could not see? The doctor’s surgical apron was covered with puss, blood, and every kind of gore, multiplying as he made his rounds to examine suffering patients. He wore the apron proudly. After all, the more crusted matter displayed the more successful he was to society! No wonder over 40% of surgical patients died as a result of their surgery … “The operation was a success but the patient died,” was scrolled in the notes of many physicians.
In time, with the growing knowledge of the existence of disease-causing bacteria, the physician began to learn the error of his beliefs. Today, the crisp white coat worn by the doctor is a sign of success and reassurance to the patient. The “White Coat Ceremony” is a symbolic ceremony of purity in the practice of medicine, and is conducted at most medical schools as a beginning point for the new doctor-to-be. Cleanliness and purity are demanded in medicine today; gone are the filthy surgeon’s aprons and the spread of germs and disease carried in their fibers from patient to patient.
While the doctor of old had reason to keep his surgical apron hidden, such is not the case with the former life of the Christian. There is a desire in all of us to show only the good, allowing others to see only the clean and pure things in our lives—the areas God has gained control of and helped us to change. But is there a benefit to sharing the part of our former life that we would rather keep hidden? God thinks so:
We are Christ’s ambassadors. God is using us to speak to you: we beg you, as though Christ himself were here pleading with you, receive the love he offers you—be reconciled to God. 2 Corinthians 5:20
God says that we are His ambassadors to a hurting world that needs His love. He calls us His representatives, His messengers. And while we do not want to display every unclean thing from our life for all to see, like the doctor of old wearing a saturated apron, we do want to share what God has brought us out of for the benefit of others who need freedom. By sharing experiences that we are not proud of, sins we have learned to overcome as well as pain put upon us by the choices of others, we open a door. Others can see how, with God’s grace and mercy, we live a new life in Christ. By sharing what we would rather keep hidden, always in the appropriate moments, we are His voice to our hurting world. And this is the hope we should not keep hidden:
Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool! Isaiah 1:18
One of the beauties of salvation is a clean, fresh start with a new life in Christ. Have you experienced that cleansing in your life?
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