What does forgiveness have to do with dirty dishes?

Forgiveness is immediate but that’s a concept hard to believe. We think we have to be “cleaned-up first” which, of course, negates the whole meaning of forgiveness. It’s one of those areas in life where it’s important not to let things pile up.

Like with dirty, crusted on-food dishes.

Table of Contents

  1. A true story
  2. How much time does it take to receive forgiveness?
    1. Forgiveness is immediate.
  3. Sometimes forgiveness feels too easy.
  4. The less history, the better

A true story

But before I make my case, let me tell you a true story.

Years ago, my husband and I were asked over to dinner by a couple we knew from church. They were rather odd but because I’m such a rescuer, I felt an overwhelming need to make them friends. As if you can anyway. Make someone a friend.

Anyway, we accepted. The evening was going just fine, the dinner was palatable but then it got to the clean-up part. Like any good host, I offered to help with the dishes.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I never accept help for cleaning up from dinner guests. Unless they are long-term friends and then I might. But I think my hostesses have a lot of the clean-up already done before dinner and generally before to visit with their guests and clean up later. But, no, this hostess took me up on my offer which was fine.

I followed her to the kitchen and couldn’t believe what I saw. No, I mean, really. I was dumbfounded.

The countertops were stacked with dirty dishes. The sink had dirty dishes filled to the top. It would be safe to guess that there were at least a few days, if not a week’s worth piled up everywhere. Surely, she was going to organize in such a way that we only cleaned up for this particular dinner.


Anyway, food was crusted on the pans and plates. Permanent rings had etched into the drinking glasses. It was a mess.

We washed dishes for a couple of hours. Do you want to know if we ever went back there for dinner?

I have no idea why she chose to wait for me to help her clean up the kitchen. As I said, they were a little strange. The husband visited us once years later after they divorced and told me to get him a COKE, (I kid you not. Told me, not asked me.) and used our phone to make a long-distance call without asking. I had words with him over that and yet he actually did ask to spend the night once a few weeks later. (No, that didn’t happen.) I have a long, long, rope but this time I almost strangled someone with it.

How much time does it take to receive forgiveness?

But haven’t you left a dirty dish or pan in the sink overnight without at least rinsing it off. ? I have. And what would have taken a minute to clean at the time, now takes minutes, plural. It would have been so much more efficient and less time-consuming to have cleaned the dishes right away. Right?

Forgiveness is immediate.

And, while it takes the same number of words to confess whether you do it immediately or later, it doesn’t take the same amount of time to gain victory or to overcome a bad habit.

The Longer we hold on to guilt, the more damage it creates.

For example, if we let something go and don’t confess it immediately, would you agree that the Holy Spirit doesn’t give us rest? That is certainly true if we are sensitive to his voice and better yet, recognize it. So if we let something fester, it more than likely causes issues elsewhere in our lives, and those issues can cause other issues. It’s a downward spiral.

I think I know why we do it though. At least, I know why I do at times.

Sometimes forgiveness feels too easy.

It just seems too easy. Right?

But forgivenss is a whole lot harder if we put it off. And in some cases, may do far more damage than if we confessed it right away. For example, if I find myself judging someone, even if I’m the only one who knows it, the longer I don’t confess it the more I will probably do it. Pretty soon, what was only an occasional problem becomes a habit.

Habits are a whole lot harder to gain victory over than something that has just occurred once or twice. We all know that.

And while there are no conditions to ask for forgiveness in the first place, there may be lots of conditions that have to be addressed before total victory is ours. Christ forgives immediately but just like the woman caught in adultery, Jesus tells us to, “Go, and sin no more.”

The less history, the better

Easier to do with less history. Wouldn’t you agree? Just like some dishes need to soak overnight so we can clean them easier, so we need to sit and soak in the abiding love of Christ so that we remain sensitive to those things we need to confess immediately and find forgiveness for.

Don’t let your life get so crusted over with sin, that it will take a lot of scrubbing to get clean. Steep yourself in living waters and let God gently wash your sins away.

picture of a lake/forgiveness

“He who believes in me, as the Scripture said, “From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.” John 7:38

God bless and have a good day.