"I'm clean enough"

door hangers sam allberry.jpg

One thing that all hotels have in common are those little door hangers, which tell the cleaners whether they should come in and make up your room or not. I came across one recently where the usual two options were put in a slightly different way. One side read: ‘I’m clean enough: please don’t disturb’. The other said: ‘I’m a right mess: come on in’.

And as someone who’s passionate about getting the Bible’s message across in everyday language, I thought they were brilliant. Because they perfectly sum up the only two possible responses to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

One of the misconceptions about Christianity that I try and combat as a minister is that it’s only for good people. That it’s for those who have it all together. But that leads only to pride (for those who think they are good enough) or despair (for those who know they are not). In actual fact, the Bible tells us that there has only be one truly good person who has ever lived – Jesus Christ. The reason he came to earth was not (mainly) to set an example for us – since we could never live up to it. Instead, he came to live the perfect life that we fail to live, and then die in the place of his people.

As a result, being a Christian isn’t so much about ‘doing’ but about ‘receiving’ – receiving the free gift of cleansing that he offers. There are many (not least among those who sit in churches) who say, ‘thanks but no thanks’ – ‘I’m clean enough: please don’t disturb’. But by God’s grace there are others who gratefully say, ‘I’m a right mess: come on in’. It all boils down to how you see yourself.

Jesus himself says ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock’ (Revelation 3:20). What will your response be? ‘I’m clean enough: please do not disturb’? Or ‘I’m a right mess: come on in’?

The above article was scheduled to be in today’s Stranraer and Wigtownshire Free Press, but wasn’t printed. It looks like the paper’s new editor may have axed the ‘Thought for the Week’ column.