My Filthy Rag


‘Tis the season for hand sanitizer and tissues, ushering hesitant handshakes and skeptical side-hugs. Despite red noses and watery eyes, we continue to drag ourselves out of the house in hopes of accomplishing something, anything. A day spent stifling nasal flow while unclogging congestion is confusing enough, yet we persevere. And though tissues are the trending treatment of choice for such illness, those who consider themselves old school use hankies – snot-filled rags nestled in personal pockets. The hanky is the cloth diaper of facial products – few loyalists, but ardently so.

When I think of a hanky, or a cloth diaper for that matter, I think of the good things I do; not merely intentions, but the actual accomplishment of something super nice. Like the other day when I was in line at the grocery store, I let a man jump ahead of me in line. Okay, so it was because I had to go back for a head of lettuce, but even so, he appreciated it. And then at Taco Bell I helped an old lady locate the water spout on the soda machine. It had little to do with the fact that she was blocking the Mt. Dew nozzle. “It’s just below the fruit punch, ma’am.” She seemed more than grateful. So why am I reminded of these selfless deeds by a hanky, a filthy rag? Because ultimately, I know God’s view of my public service. He sees through my charade and identifies the state of my heart. Even my greatest endeavors to better the world are helplessly tangled in my own agenda.

While I’m flattered by the humanist’s assumption of my humanity being essentially good, I just don’t buy it. I don’t know which human specimen they’re using for the basis of their theory, but I’d bet the specimen’s spouse would disagree. From my own research I’ve found that the six billion people on this planet innately feel the universe revolves around them. Only one could be right, yet all are wrong. The very best we have to offer in the way of good deeds is hopelessly short of perfect. This is precisely why I bask in God’s grace.  I bank on His deposit rather than my own pittance. I dress daily in Christ’s righteousness, rags far different than my own.


2 thoughts on “My Filthy Rag

  1. Matt, your dissertation was refreshing as it was thought provoking. If to find myself attemptling to act Christ-like and very often my reasons are selfishly motivated. I have on many occasion tried to fool myself into believing I’m attempting to do what I am being asked to do rather than what my heart should be telling me to do. Retorically speaking, are all my attempts at becoming a do-gooder for Christs sake, all falsely motivated? Am I trying to do good so that I may receive the favor of salvation? Still trying to find the true heart for Christ! What a struggle!

    In closing: I often feel like an Imitation Christian. Does anyone ever know when he has made it?

    FYI: I picked up your card at The Blessed Life Bakery, Great Double Chocolate Chip Cookies!!

    Response not required. “See you in Church”

    1. Jeff, I know a response wasn’t required, but I gotta tell you – even as a youth pastor I can feel like an imitation Christian. Thank you for reminding me that I’m not the only one. The battle will end when our lives in this flesh will end. Yet because of Jesus, we stand holy before God, washed in His blood, forever and always. Thanks for reading, Jeff.

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