One of the realities of working with youth and teens as long as I have is sometimes you learn things you really wish you didn’t know. One of those things is just how gross sometimes they can be, especially as it relates to things like hygiene. Bronwyn and I have both at different times sat down with students and talked to them about the importance of things like, brushing teeth, washing clothes, using deodorant, and that Axe body spray isn’t the same as taking a shower. For some of them they legitimately didn’t have anyone in their lives to have these conversations with them, for others I assume they were just lazy or, as the Febreze commercials say, had gone nose blind. But ultimately our goal was to help them be healthier and live better lives armed with at least the ability to take better care of themselves. Just a funny side note, did you know that in Kenya it is a highly held belief that Americans don’t use washcloths to bathe, they just use their hands and soap. Just a fun fact for your day.
Something else I have learned, mostly from being a camp director, is that campers are terrible at washing their hands. One of the trainings I always did with staff was about “Camper Care” and I would always say, “you will have campers who will go to the bathroom and then the sink, turn the water on, not even get their hands wet, and turn the water off”. After which everyone would laugh thinking I was exaggerating. Then little by little counselors would see it happening and would be shocked. When I ran afterschool programs because of licensing we had certain guidelines that had to be followed as it related to hand washing. As any government document tends to be, it was very detailed but if it was followed properly at the end you would have lots of students with very clean hands.
The truth is most people don’t wash their hands good enough and with all the talk of the Coronavirus I thought it might be good to post a couple of charts that may make you a better hand washer, so here ya go.
The Bible also has some things about clean hands, you may have sung the worship song by Chris Tomlin, “Give Us Clean Hands” but did you know it’s lifted straight from Psalms 24:4 and that some people speculate that this Psalm was written about the Ark of the Covenant being brought back into Jerusalem. The thought here being that having clean hands and a pure heart allows you greater access to God’s Holy Presence. Well, the way many campers would deal with their hands is the same way I think many followers of Christ deal with their sins. They go through the motions, they turn the sink on, but they don’t do the hard work. They don’t get before their Creator and ask Him to do what David wrote in Psalms 139
23 Search me, O God, and know my heart!
Try me and know my thoughts!
24 And see if there be any grievous way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting
We want to gloss over our obvious sin and ask God to forgive us of what others can see, but not to thoroughly cleanse us, to point out all our sin so we can stand forgiven in his Holy Presence. So, this week be sure to wash those hands really, really good and also let God cleanse you from all your unrighteousness. And remember that sometimes it takes more than a quick minute, you have to let Him really scrub and sometimes it’s hard and sometimes the things you see are really gross, but in the end it’s worth it for your Spiritual Health just like being clean is good for your physical health.