Blots and Stains
“Now if you’re really careful, I’ll let you address the Christmas card envelopes. Just be sure you write smoothly so you don’t leave any blots. And don’t forget to blot the wet ink after you’re done with each one.”
I was so excited to use my mom’s fountain pen, the one she kept in its special round, gray holder on her desk. This was in the days before ballpoint pens, and not everyone had the skills to write a blot-free letter or address. I was only ten, but she knew I’d do my best to not leave a blemish on those envelopes.
No one likes to see something ruined with a stain, a mark, a smudge, a flaw on an otherwise perfect piece of clothing or paper or wood. But sometimes we can get creative and turn the flaw into something decorative to disguise what’s really there.
Worse though is the blot on our character, our reputation, our otherwise good record. Oh how hard we try to blot it out, remove it, cancel it, or make excuses to disguise its serious nature. But the tarnish is still going to be there. We know it’s there. And so do others.
And we can try to blot our excessive mistakes that seem to control us at times. Our critical tongue, our jealousy, our anger, our cruel words. Unlike the sweat on the brow of the runner, we can’t easily absorb those faults with a handy cloth and throw it away.
During our California wildfires, it isn’t unusual for the smoke to be so thick that it blots out the sun. Without even looking to the sky, we know the darkness in the middle of the day will soon bring ashes and the acrid smell of smoke.
Full solar eclipses can create the same shadow of darkness. In ancient days, people would shrink in fear of what might be the cause of this blotting out… something they had done, or perhaps just a general anger from the gods. Ironically, today, in our eagerness to fully experience the excitement and wonder of this phenomenon, we have to be warned not to look directly at the sun’s disappearing light.
There was a greater fear of darkness, however, spoken of in the Old Testament. The biggest threat was to blot out someone’s name… from the records… from God’s book of life. (See Psalm 34, 69, and 109)
How sad to think that my life wouldn’t really matter… what I did or said wouldn’t make a bit of difference one way or another. That it had no meaning at all. We see that idea played out in the movieIt’s a Wonderful Life where the main character states in no uncertain terms that he should never been born. He was mistakenly convinced that the world and his family and friends would have fared better without his existence.
Of course most of us truly want to feel appreciated, remembered. We don’t relish the thought of being just another anonymous number in the earth’s population.
And there are people today who will go to great lengths to secure their memory on this earth. To avoid anonymity, they make sure they leave a legacy, perhaps a name on a building or a statue in their honor. Their families are admonished to keep alive their name and their memory, and the warning and often accompanying guilt passes on from generation to generation.
Now I’m not saying I shouldn’t cherish the memories of my parents and grandparents, my aunts and uncles and other relatives. I love to think back to those times we spent together and the laughter and joys we shared. But those memories are limited. They have only an earthly lifespan.
I also know there are memories that truly should not be kept. The memories of the wrongs someone has done… the cruel words and actions… the unkind ways we have been treated… the arguments and hurt feelings.
Oh if only I could blot out some of those memories… those things that destroy my contentment, my joy.
But there is Someone who promises to do just that. Oh, our Lord Jesus takes no joy in blotting out people. In fact He goes out of His way to make our stain disappear, to heal our blemishes, to cure our soul’s disfigurement.
As we cry out with King David, “Blot out my transgressions… blot out all my iniquity” (Psalm 51:1, 9), He responds, “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more” (Isaiah 43:25). Ah, for His own sake. Not because I deserve it, but because He loves me and cares for me. Because He wants the best for me.
We can try on our own to make our sin insignificant, meaningless. We can try to disguise it so it’s not so noticeable… make something decorative out of it in hopes no one will see the truth.
But only God can truly remove my sin from existence… from memory. Only He can hit that delete button… destroy it, eradicate it so that it no longer has existence.
HOW IS THIS ACCOMPLISHED?
There is only one way… the sacrifice of my Savior’s life for mine… the drops of His blood… those precious drops that blotted out forever my sin, my flaws, my stain, my disgrace.
So that I truly can appreciate my legacy as His precious child no matter how the world rates my importance.
So that I can face the future… both here and now… and forever in heaven… with joy!
Leaving my guilt at the cross,