Sometimes we get stuck seeing things our way. Would you like to see some things through another set of eyes? Maybe it will make you think and stretch or maybe just chuckle or shed a tear. Here is my world through my eyes...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Stained Not Dirty

I was washing dishes with my daughter after dinner tonight and she said, "This makes me sick".  I asked what she was referring to and she pointed out a Tupperware bowl that was stained.  "That is so dirty".  I said, "that isn't dirty, it is just stained" and instantly I started thinking that those words had meaning beyond the Tupperware piece we were looking at.
Possibly some people might have a response like my daughter's to people who are bearing the consequence of some personal trauma, or even some choices in their life that have harmed them in unexpected ways.  Maybe this could be a response to wounded war veterans for some of us.
J.R. Martinez--Iraq war
Frank Sandoval--Iraq War
Another example could be a person who has been sexually abused becoming angry or irritable when they see a father with his daughter on his lap.  
I am reminded of a client I had one time who would become highly angry if I would stretch out my legs in front of me while we were talking.  On close inspection and honest talking it turned out that her abusive father would often sit that way, and when I did that she would react toward me with the feelings she had toward her father at that time. 
Stained things can also be beautiful I might add.  For example stained glass and tie dyed shirts.
People can be stained by experience, by family dysfunction, or even by societal fads and pressures.  A family dealing with alcoholism can produce children and further generations that are secretive, don't share or feel emotions.  Families dealing with mental illness can produce similar results.

Social fads like tattoos or piercing can lead to poor choices that are mourned later in life.

But what these words "stained but not dirty" make me think of is the stains or consequences that can enter our life due to sin.  When we make choices that lead to sin, sometimes the results can be long lasting.  We may recognize our sin and repent and change but often the consequences of that sin will continue on even though we are a changed person. 
If sin makes us dirty so to speak, then repentance makes us clean by the grace of the Savior who suffered for all our sins that we might repent.  The consequences may continue but it would be just a stain but not dirty. 

As an example possibly a person who lived a life style that led to contracting aids might repent of and change that lifestyle but still suffer the consequences.  A person who smokes cigarettes to the point where the skin on their hand that carries the lit cigarette might be discolored.  They may repent, break that addiction and stop smoking but they will still have the discolored hand.  A person who gets involved in child pornography may be arrested and serve time in prison and then be on the Sex offender registry but could repent and change their actions and thoughts such that they could be clean of that sin although still necessarily be held to the consequences of the sin. 

So we see that being stained is not the same as being dirty.  It is very possible to have a very clean stained shirt or pair of pants.  Or even a very clean but stained body.  Surely we must be careful to not get stained mixed up with dirty. 


  1. you make a very good point :) what i thought of when i read this is that we will see people as we go throughout our day to day activities who are stained from various things. we need to make sure that we don't judge them just because they are stained because i think that can often be easy to do. of course we shouldn't judge under any circumstances, i just know that i've observed myself that it is easier to fall into judging someone when those stains are or become apparent. anyhow the delineation you pointed out is important to keep in mind! :)

  2. That distinction is also very important in my eyes. Even the Savior still bears the marks on his hands, feet, and side that represent the process of changing us from dirty to stained. I think when we encounter people who may be "stained", in our minds, that we remember the marks that the Savior still carries and His infinite love for us.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...