Lessons from a pair of shoes

April 27, 2020

If you looked at the cover photo of this post, you would see a pair of black, polished shoes.

There’s a story behind this shoe – a lesson it taught me in 2018 that was so powerful, I just had to take a picture of it.

It’s 2020 now, and the lesson is still so fresh in my mind that I can write about it. It’s not a new lesson or a mind-blowing insight. It’s quite simple really.

My mother used to hate it when I wore dirty shoes to work. “If you’re my son, you’d better wear clean shoes”, she would say.

Me? I couldn’t care less. I wore dirty shoes to my college graduation, job interview and who knows – I might not even have clean shoes on my wedding day.

I don’t really remember what the occasion was, but my mother had kept my shoes out and had reminded me over and over that day to polish them for the outing that evening.

I took a quick look at them, just like you looked at the picture, and thought that they were pretty clean.

So I decided they were in the best state possible and let them be.

When it was time to go to the event – whatever it was, I turned on the light – the bulb directly overhead – and when it shone, I saw it.

Filthy, with mud at the bottom and on the sides. These shoes weren’t clean at all. They weren’t fit to be worn – not even to buy groceries, let alone a fancy event.

I had to clean them!

And it hit me.

We can live in denial as much as we want about the state of our lives – the state of our souls.

As long as we’re in darkness, and putting on a picture of being a ‘good person’, or a picture of holiness, we’re going to pretend we’re clean and nice and tidy.

It’s only when the light shines that we get to see the real state that we’re in.  It’s only in the light that our filth is exposed. And it’s only in the light, that we can be cleaned.

The way to get rid of our sinfulness – whether its anger, bitterness, rage, lust, selfishness, jealousy, greed, drunkenness – is not to ‘get our act together’ and put on a veil of goodness.

Hiding the storm that’s within us helps no one.

The only way to get rid of sin is to drag it into the light,  even forcefully if required.

The only way to start getting rid of sin is by exposing it and entering a place of vulnerability.

How? Go tell God what you’ve done. And then tell someone you trust what you’ve done. Go, confess.

What happens then? 

Then we need only be still, as the Master Polisher wipes all the dirt away.

Come into the light, friend.

Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God. - John 3:20-21
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