I love my morning coffee, and I enjoy drinking it out of my favorite cup. Somehow, the coffee tastes better out of that cup than any other cup. Many years ago, I had a different favorite cup. It was clear glass, and I used it all morning, every morning. I noticed that as I finished each cup of coffee, a dark residue stuck to the side of the cup. For some reason I began to take pride in that residue, and I enjoyed watching it build up, getting darker and darker over time. My clear glass coffee cup wasn’t so clear any more.
One day, our software development team was holding a meeting, and naturally I brought my cup with me. As the fluid level in the cup got lower and lower, the young lady sitting across from me became increasingly disturbed by the condition of my beloved chalice. At one point, she could contain it no longer and told me outright, “Your cup is completely disgusting!” I chuckled and thought little of it, but the extent of her disdain for my mug ran far deeper than I realized. I came to work the next morning and found that my little cup had been stolen and scrubbed clean. It sat on my desk, sparkling like the day it was new.
Sometimes we need a knock on the head from others who see us more clearly than we see ourselves. The sin stains on our lives build up over time. We become used to them, and like my coffee cup, we may even treat them like a badge of honor. I really enjoyed watching my cup get darker and darker.
Paul wrote to the church in Philippi, speaking of those who “glory” in their shame. Jesus talked about how we become calloused by sin. So, in some cases, we don’t even notice our sin, and in other cases, we are actually kind of proud of it.
Have you ever seen a conversation where a person is describing their aberrant behavior, and another person, not to be outdone responds with something like, “Oh, man, that’s nothing! You should have seen when we …” They’re trying to outdo one another, glorying in their shame.
When a good brother or sister in Christ pulls you aside and tells you the condition of your cup needs a good cleaning, don’t write them off too quickly. They may be doing you a wonderful, loving favor as one who sees your coffee stains more clearly than you do.
Victoriously in Christ!