Washing machines were sloshing and dryers rhythmically humming. We had brought our soiled clothes for a sudsy dunking, and soon piles of sweet-smelling laundry would be ready for the new week.
The words of a hymn - a poem by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science - struck me: White as wool, ere they depart, Shepherd, wash them clean. n1
n1 Poems p. 14.
Much has been written about ''washing away sins.'' But just what does this phrase mean? In fact, can it be done? It isn't as easy as throwing a few things into a machine with some soap and bleach. Yet in Isaiah we read, ''Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.'' n2
n2 Isaiah 1:18.
A good starting point in washing away sin is to realize who we truly are - the sons and daughters of God.
We seem to be mortal beings, separate from our creator, inherently sinful. But this is a false view of man as God has created him. Our actual identity, as God's child, is incapable of any action that is ungodlike, that is evil. This truth doesn't justify wrong actions. Rather, it strengthens us in our resolve to do right.
As we recognize ourselves to be God's offspring and acknowledge that He is the only power, we also begin to realize there is no actual power that can influence us to do wrong. Understanding that God is the one infinite Mind, we can see that in truth there are no wicked, willful, mortal minds with power to misguide us. We come to see that we are subject only to God and that, in the final analysis, evil is not power.
More than once in the Gospels we read of Christ Jesus saying to someone he had saved or healed, ''Sin no more.'' (See, for example, John 5:14.) We, too, must follow this directive. An important step in this work is to claim each day our unity with our Father-Mother God and our consequent innocence as His child. But we also need to be alert to reject any thought or action that is ungodlike - in other words, we need to be faithful to what we're claiming.
As we affirm our unity with the Father and actively live by that truth, we will find any pull toward evil lessening. We'll find ourselves entertaining purer, more Godlike thoughts. In the activities of daily life we'll be less apt to procrastinate, more punctual, more patient with others, more obedient to civil law. We'll begin to feel free from guilt.
Mrs. Eddy states as one of the tenets, or important points, of Christian Science: ''We acknowledge God's forgiveness of sin in the destruction of sin and the spiritual understanding that casts out evil as unreal. But the belief in sin is punished so long as the belief lasts.'' n3
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 497.
It's not human will or positive thinking but rather a humble obedience to Jesus' teachings and receptivity to the cleansing action of the Christ, Truth, that bring release from sin. Jesus has shown us the way, and as we follow in it we, too, will be able to ''sin no more.''
Sometimes in making mathematical computations we make terrible mistakes, but once we recognize that the answer is wrong and correct our method of computing we are able to determine the correct answer. Then our checkbook balances or the equation works. We no longer suffer from an incorrect answer.
On a larger scale, as we listen to God's guidance and follow His direction - do what we know to be right - we will stop sinning. Our best defense is knowing that as God's perfect child we are really incapable of sin; that in fact, since God, good, is All, there is no place for sin and no power in it. This is the truth that washes away sin. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Sin shall not have domain over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace Now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life. Romans 6:14, 22