Monday, August 24, 2009
At my workplace we once had a week long promotion around infection control, with the importance of hand washing being highlighted. Yes, there is a right way and a wrong way to wash one’s hands. And it is the number one method of preventing the spread of germs.
In the last decade or so, the war against germs has intensified, both in public buildings and private homes. Antiseptic hand cleansers are everywhere. Cleaning products and personal hygiene products no longer simply clean; they also promise to kill 99% of household germs, or whatever little critters might be hiding out on your hands or between your teeth. Seems we just can’t get clean enough!
Yet in spite of this “germ warfare”, the widespread use of antibiotics, and an ever increasing variety of vaccines, we are still faced with more and more virulent forms of viruses and infections throughout the world today. We sterilize, immunize, and sanitize, yet seem to be losing ground in our efforts to combat an ever growing list of dangerous pathogens.
Another trend is to fast, or cleanse the body of unhealthy “build up” by using a variety of diets and products. We have air purifiers for our homes, buy bottled water by the gallon, look for food grown without pesticide use and organically fed animal products. We live in a world with poisoned air, water and soil, and are continually searching out ways to avoid polluting our bodies with the never ending list of contaminants that we are surrounded with.
When I consider all these things, I can’t help but think of what the Bible says about our “inward” selves; our hearts. Jesus criticized the “religious” leaders of His day. They were all about doing the right things, following rituals of washing and fasting, and looking respectable outwardly. Yet He saw that their hearts were the main problem, and had this to say to them, “…you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self indulgence…first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also” (Matthew 23:25-26 NASB.)
Jesus knew the importance of having a “clean” heart. Our bodies are temporary tents to eternal souls. He knows that no earthly “product” or method will ever be able to give us clean hearts; He is the only One Who can.
“Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Ps. 51:7,10)