Lately, I’ve had a dirty mouth. No, it’s not what you think. I haven’t taken up cussing like a seasoned sailor, nor have my oral hygiene habits declined. It’s all because of beets. “I love beets!” said no one in our family ever, and yet we have a row of beets in our garden. Why you ask? My answer is this - that’s a long story. But here’s the thing; because there is a row of beets, I feel the pressure not to waste them because apparently there are little children in third world countries who would love them (according to my childhood dinner table memories).
Interesting fact about beets, as you slice them, they release an earthy aroma, like freshly plowed soil, and we found they taste a lot like they smell. Like dirt. Not a nasty dirt, but a good dirt. As I tried cooking them in different ways, each way enhanced the taste of dirt. Here are my examples:
Roasted beets & carrots with cinnamon = pretty veggies sprinkled with cinnamon and dirt
Grilled balsamic marinated beets = dirt and vinegar red chips with attractive grill marks
Boiled beets, diced & topped with butter = dirty sweet corn (for real!)
Pickled beets = just ewww…
Now I say all that to say this – sin is like dirt in the mouth. Sugar-coat it, butter it up, roll it around the tongue and chew, but you can’t get away from the fact that sin is sin is sin. It leaves a bad taste that we simply can’t spit out.
Psalm 32:3 says, “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.” If sin was dirt in your mouth would you risk smiling? Would you talk and hope no one notices mud dripping down your chin? Probably not. We’d all clamp our mouths shut and feel miserable from the nausea and embarrassment, which is sort of what happens when we don’t acknowledge and confess our sins to our heavenly Father.
Sin and its companion, guilt, haunt us in our deepest places. We think we can keep swallowing, but it winds up eating us. It wears us out, brings us low. Eventually, we come to a place where we can no longer stand it, and we have a choice. We can live with the vile taste or we can confess and be forgiven. Psalm 32 continues in verse 5, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.’ And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” Confession is cleansing. I come to Jesus with pleading eyes and with a hand over my filthy mouth. I say the words, bitter as they are, and Jesus loves me and forgives me, mess that I am.
Notice that the Psalmist doesn’t say “Confess and wait three business days and Jesus will get back to you.” Forgiveness is immediate. Strange that we bite our tongue and wait so long in misery when freedom is one step away. If sin is dirt in the mouth, confession is the teeth-whitening version of Listerine, leaving us spotless, sparkling, and smiling.
So let me revisit the beets for just a second. I still have a half a row of beets in the garden. Any recipe suggestions on how to try them next?
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9