Dirty Windshields

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                      JANUARY 18, 2013

I was following an oversized SUV down the road the other day. A red light brought a halt to our drive for a few moments, and I noticed the back windshield was displaying the accumulated results of our recent period of cold, snow, and ice. It was caked over…like a double-layer kind of cake! In fact, it was so plastered with mud, slush, and ice that there was no way the driver could see anything behind him if he looked straight back.

Been there. Done that. I’m more conscientious of the outward appearance of my car than I am of the clothes I’m wearing. I don’t pretend to understand it. It must go back to my Kentucky roots with the old Ford truck my grandfather drove. Perhaps there was less dirt back in the 50’s, but it never seemed to be soiled at all. The only evidence of use was some bits of hay in the bed let over from taking a bale to the cattle.

But the back windshield of this SUV also had two words written into the grime.

“Clean me!”

When someone can see the words in the dirt you know the car wash is needed. Call it “automotive confession!” There needs to be a cleansing.

The amazing thing is that the build-up of debris usually takes a good amount of time, but a run through the car wash returns the shine in just a few moments.

Yesterday the first part of Lance Armstrong’s interview with Oprah Winfrey aired. He admitted to doping during his cycling career, which included seven consecutive Tour de France victories between 1999 and 2005. Back in those days we all cheered for Lance to win. He had come through testicular cancer. He had battled back. It was a story made for the movies, a “feel good” moment! We didn’t want to believe it when there were accusations about him. Most of us shook it off as poor European losers jealous of the American.

There was a film forming on the back windshield of the story, but we mistook it for cloudy conditions or the glare of the sun in our eyes.

I obviously don’t know Lance Armstrong, but I wonder about carrying the sin around for so many years. How did he cope? How was he able to continually deny any wrongdoing? Did it become easier to live the lie? Did layer get caked upon layer to where it just became easier not to notice?

My hope is that the confession, the cleansing, will allow him to begin a new life. I’m sure he will be the butt of many jokes, ridicule, and cruel remarks. Denial of wrongdoing for so long has that as a one of it’s repercussions, but perhaps he will no longer be afraid to look out of his back windshield.

We live in a culture that, if you will, is eager to see the dirt on someone in front of us while, at the same time, pretending to be blind to what it sticking to our backs.

The amazing thing about the Gospel is grace. Grace asks “can I help you clean up the mess?” Grace knows that none of us are dirt-resistant. Grace is not okay with sin, and yet knows that each one of us has to deal with sin.

I grieve for Lance Armstrong, but I grieve even more for those who can’t see their own back windshields.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Community, Faith, Grace, Jesus, Pastor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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