This is the first message is our 4-week study in Psalm 51, Broken and Contrite: The Unexpected Path to Spiritual Renewal.
It has been twenty years, but I still remember the stain. After I had completed my seminary studies and the trials of pastoral ordination, I received a fountain pen as a gift. You know, the kind of pen where you install ink cartridges and the pen writes like the old quills used scribe documents like the Declaration of Independence or letters from soldiers in the Civil War.
The proper way to carry a fountain pen is with the tip up so that the ink reservoir does not, because of gravity, leak. Well, I know this now. I learned the hard way, with one of my favorite pairs of well worn, perfectly broken in jeans. With tip down in my pocket, unbeknownst to me, the ink slowly but surely began to be absorbed into the fabric around my pocket until when I noticed the damage, the entire thigh section was a huge, black stain.
I tried stain removers, pre-soaking, scrubbing, washing and re-washing, only to have the garment retain the stain.
It is one thing when a garment is stained. It is something else when the garment is your soul, and the stain is sin. What I want you to know beyond any doubt is while all of us are stained with sin, any of us can be washed clean. We can be spotless before heaven. We can live as if we are blameless. Without accusation. Totally free from condemnation.