Wash your hands! This is the advice that the NHS and the government are giving us as the best methods of not catching coronavirus. They recommend that we frequently wash our hands, ideally for about 20 seconds per wash. Additionally, we should use a tissue or our sleeve to catch a cough or sneeze, and avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth if our hands are not clean.
When I was a child my parents taught me to wash my hands before I had a meal. If I’m being honest that is a habit that I had neglected somewhat, but I have now reintroduced it. Another important thing they installed in me was washing my hands after I had used the toilet. That is one habit I have never stopped doing. And it does irritate me whenever I use a public toilet, if I see anyone leave without washing their hands!
In recent days I am trying to be more conscious of following the NHS advice and doing what I can to maintain a good level of hygiene. One thing I have realised is that during the day, whether consciously or subconsciously, I found myself touching my face. I have suddenly become very aware of this and am trying to exercise self-disciple and avoid doing this. It’s so easy just to rub your eyes or scratch your ear without realising what you are doing. However, we have been told not to do this.
The advice that the NHS have issued about washing our hands may sound like something that you would tell a child. It’s really basic and simple advice. Surely as adults we do not need to be told this? Yet as I think about this I believe that we do. Although we cannot see germs they are real and we need to keep clean.
Although the advice about washing your hands is being spoken of here in relation to coronavirus, it is also a lesson that can be applied spiritually too. Just as we need to clean ourselves from dirt and germs physically we also need to do the same spiritually. If we do not then we find ourselves contaminated with the effect of our sin. What is the solution? The first letter that John wrote contains the words:
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:7-9)
This is the advice that we need to follow if we wish to be clean before God.