Soap dishes come in all shapes and sizes
Today, most of us use liquid soap to wash our hands, but not too many years ago, we just had plain old bar soap. It was slippery and a bit slimy at times and it had it’s own little spot when you were done lathering your hands. If you weren’t overly worried about it, you set the bar of soap along side of the faucet in a little grooved place, designed just for a bar of soap. If you wanted to reign in that little slippery rascal, you had a soap dish to place it in. Soap dishes came in all shapes and sizes, from plastic to marble, and from plain to fancy. My mom had older lady friends who had pedestal soap dishes that required a raised pinky during hand washing. Snoo-tey!!
Did you ever notice what happened if you didn’t keep an eye on the soap dish? Let me tell you…it was gross. When you aren’t paying attention, soap, a centuries old cleaning agent, does it’s own thing. The dirty secret is that soap is only clean when it’s cleaning your hands. Once you place that bad boy down, it turns to slime, and mucks up your soap dish. Then you have to figure out how to scrape that out of the grooves of the soap dish. Why is one of the dirtiest places in the house the bottom of the soap dish??
Much like the soap dish, the church can harbor its own share of slime and muck if it’s left unattended after it has done the job of ‘cleaning everyone’s hands’. Now, isn’t that a bit backwards? Mmmm yep. So what’s the fix on this deal? Well, it’s hard to say in a simple blog post, but it needs to start with each one of us. We need to make sure we are cleaning out our own spiritual soap dish, and we need to do it on a regular basis. If you are asking why, I have a simple answer for you. We are human. We make messes. We need to continue to ‘wash’ with a fervent and humble heart, making a strong point to keep our eyes on our own slimy mess, and using wisdom and restraint if/when pointing out the slime in someone else’s soap dish. I lean towards keeping your eyes on your own soap dish. 🙂
I Thessalonians 4:9 But we don’t need to write to you about the importance of loving each other, for God himself has taught you to love one another. 10 Indeed, you already show your love for all the believers throughout Macedonia. Even so, dear brothers and sisters, we urge you to love them even more. 11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others (NLT).
So the first and most important steps are to act in love towards others, then love others some more, try not to be quarrelsome, work with your hands, and mind your own beeswax (slight interpretation liberty taken). Churches will never be perfect, so don’t try and hold the standard of perfection. We’ll all fail because we’re human. I heard this saying recently when dining with some girlfriends; “Church would be wonderful if it weren’t for the people”.
Perfection isn’t the goal
We’ll never be perfect. Christ doesn’t expect us to be, but He does want us to act and behave out of deep levels of love for one another. That would take care of a huge amount of the slime and muck that keeps filling up the soap dishes of the church today. And maybe we could win back some of the respect that we’ve lost from those who keep a cynical eye on the church. Let’s win some over with love.
I don’t have all the answers, but our heavenly father does. Seek Him in the matters of keeping your soap dish clean. Keep growing and keep loving others.