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Dirty and dirtier

One seasonal task that my daughter and I enjoy doing near the end of summer is making our trademark herb vinegars.

There are important things to consider when working with fresh herbs. You don’t want to bruise the leaves while putting them into the jars. We always try for the best, most artistic composition of the herbs as we carefully place them down through the narrow bottle neck into the glass bottles.

If we scrub the leaves too much, the appearance will be spoiled, and it may actually introduce bacteria into the leaves. If too much water remains, the acid content of the finished product may be too diluted for safe storage.

If the plants are dirty, bacteria might be too copious for safe preservation. So it’s a delicate balance as we prepare the herbs for our readied bottles. We have to carefully gauge what kind of dirt is on the fresh herbs, and cleanse it accordingly.

Many times I will simply spray the herbs with a hose a few hours before harvesting, and let the sun and air do the drying. This minor treatment will not be enough for the plants accessible to the neighbor’s dog, or that were fertilized by the local farmer’s chicken coop.

What good is a pretty bottle of vinegar if it’s not safe to consume?

Jesus takes even greater care as he washes us from our own sins. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, some really horrific sins are listed. Paul concludes his thought by saying, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11, NKJV).

Jesus is an expert in washing! His own blood was shed to cleanse us from sin. It doesn’t matter if one is the “chief of sinners” as the apostle Paul referred to himself, or a child who has just reached the age of accountability and has committed one minor offense. Any and all sin would keep us from an eternity with God.

But are all sins equal? Many would argue that since the penalty for any sin is eternal death, then there are no differences in a transgression against God.

Just as some of my plants are too filthy to be able to be lightly rinsed off before using, there are degrees of spiritual dirt by which we can be soiled.

By far the worst is a sin from which we refuse to turn away. How can we expect forgiveness if we continue doing that which made the forgiveness necessary? This would include any marital relationships that are not in accordance with God’s word. Remaining in them is nothing less than a refusal to repent.

The concept of greater and lesser sins is rooted in the Bible (Luke 12:47, 48). Jesus told Pilate that Judas had the “greater sin” (John 19:11).

Much has been said that we must not judge those who sin differently from us. One part of that is true; God alone is the judge. However, if we do not warn those whose lifestyle is in direct opposition to the scriptures, we will ourselves be judged for that neglect (Ezekiel 6:6-9 NKJV).

We must be careful not to let the proponents of an immoral way of life fool us into thinking that God simply winks at any sin.

“How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” (Romans 6:2b).

God provides the cleansing. Be clean!

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Christine (Tina) Berglund

Christine lives in middle Tennessee with her husband Gary, a.k.a. "The Yard Boy." They have served churches in eight states where Gary has preached full-time most of their married lives. The children have flown the nest, but they "baby" their plants now, and even get to visit grandchildren once in a while.

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2 thoughts on “Dirty and dirtier

  1. Mrs. Berglund, I have a question about your article “Dirty and dirtier”. I am a member of the Church of Christ and would like to know if this site is private or public before using it.

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