Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Stain Remover

Missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints are supposed to maintain a professional, uplifting appearance.  We often wear suits and ties to convey this (and by "often" I mean every day).   I have been wearing a white shirt every day for some time now.  These shirts, no matter how well they are made, are not the best at hiding stains.  Anything you drop, spill, or fall into, will show like an alligator in a room full of business administrators.  One of the biggest culprits is spaghetti.  The splashy, slurpy, long noodles get a lot of torque worked up and catapult that red, drippy sauce onto your neatly tailored clothing.  If not treated, the stain would last forever, never to be removed.  I've tried wearing shirts with stains on them and it's not fun.  I'm always so self-conscious; I try to cover up the stain so others don't know it's there.  It makes it more difficult to maintain that clean, modest appearance with a big spaghetti stain for all to see.

But there is good news!  The geniuses in some factory somewhere made a way for me to get rid of these stains immediately.  It comes in the form of a pen and I can take it anywhere I go!  I can just rub it on the stain and BOOM! the stain is gone.  It works like magic.  Because of this nifty contraption, I can go about my life in comfort, without trying to hide my embarrassing stain.

Because I'm a missionary, this concept reminds me of a scripture.  There's a part in The Book Of Mormon when a bunch of Lamanites (usually the bad guys) become converted to the Lord and join God's church.  The king of this people expresses their feelings about repentance: "it was all we could do to repent sufficiently before God that he would take away our stain" (Alma 24:11).  When we make mistakes, or sin, it effects us tremendously.  We have feelings of guilt and shame.  These feelings put a "stain" on our hearts.  The only way to get rid of this stain is to repent and ask God for forgiveness.  When removed, we don't need to worry about hiding our sins or our past transgressions from others.  All of those bad feelings we have will be gone.  Just like that really neat pen takes the stain from my shirt, through repentance, God will take the stain from our hearts.

While this awesome pen can quickly and easily solve many problems with my white shirts, it can't do everything.  Some stains, because of the size and severity of  the stain, need further treatment.  This treatment usually takes a lot more work than the convenient pen.  Without extensive care, the shirt could be lost forever.  It's not as easy but it's just as important.  It's the same way with sins.  Repentance isn't always the easiest process.  Just like the huge stain on my shirt, a very serious sin can only be removed by much prayer and forgiveness.

Repentance is available to everybody.  The Lamanites I mentioned earlier described themselves as "the most lost of all mankind" and they were able to repent and come to the Lord.  We all make mistakes and these mistakes really can be forgiven by God!

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