I am looking at an eight ounce bottle of hand sanitizer. The kind you pump into your palm and then feel the cool sensation and smell the alcohol-like smell as it presumably kills millions of potentially life-threatening germs and bacteria living on your skin! The brand-name is “germ-X hand sanitizer.” In bold red letters at the bottom of the bottle are these words: “Kills 99.99% of germs.” The prevalence of such products reminds me we live in a dirty world. Several years ago a news report in Nashville revealed that bacteria was found on 50 of 51 public places and things examined, including telephones, computer keyboards, restaurant salad bars, etc. Believe it or not, one of the cleanest places found were commode seat lids! The news segment was entitled, “IT’S A DIRTY WORLD!” In our hyper-health-conscious age, Americans are more concerned about dirt than ever. We use cleaners, disinfectants, and antiseptics. Soap is big business. We scrub, clean, deodorize, sanitize, and sterilize because we know dirt can be dangerous and even deadly to physical life. So we wash and clean our clothes, cars, hands, heads, houses, bodies, and buildings. We filter our water and air and demand the food supply be kept pure. We wouldn’t want impurities in our lungs or livers. Or cholesterol in our veins, lead in the pipes and paint, asbestos in the walls, second-hand smoke in the room, or smog in the atmosphere. We even insist landfills be “sanitary,” and spend billions to insure waste is disposed of in a way that doesn’t pollute the water table or land!
I applaud our commitment to physical cleanness and purity. But our hands are not the only things that need sanitizing. On any given day in America, we are exposed to thousands of spiritual germs and bacteria. Spiritual toxins and impurities constantly seek to enter and pollute our spiritual hearts! Our culture is saturated with dirty words and images and sights and sounds. Dirt and germs seek entry into our hearts through our eyes and ears. These days TV could easily be taken to stand for “trashy values.” It’s getting harder and harder to find decent TV programming during prime-time viewing hours. Dirt also comes packaged in much of the music that fills the air and millions of iPods. Doug Stone released a song in 1992 that warned, “They ought to put warning labels on those sad country songs.” We might add on those sexually suggestive country songs, too. And not just country — also rock and pop and hip-hop! I could go on but don’t need to. You know I am telling you the truth. We live in sinful and morally dirty world that seeks to pollute our hearts. That’s why Jesus’ words in Matthew 5:8 are so critical — “Blessed are, the pure in heart, For they shall see God.” We don’t just need a hand sanitizer. Because of contact with sin, we need a heart sanitizer. Thank God we have one! “If we walk in the light as He is the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). We apply that sanitizer to our souls when we respond to Christ’s call to “arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). It is truly a dirty world, but the blood of Christ is powerful enough to sanitize our souls and make our hearts pure. Do you have a pure heart?
Dan Gulley – Smithville church of Christ