Broken Glass

As I was reaching into the cupboard Monday morning for a coffee cup, I accidentally knocked a different coffee cup off the shelf. It fell to the counter-top and shattered into hundreds, maybe thousands, of pieces.

It was an unusual cup in that it was made of thick glass, not ceramic like most coffee cups. I’m guessing it was that heat-resistant glass used in cookware. It broke into pieces of all sizes. Some large, some medium, some small, and some that appeared to be microscopic. 

I say, “microscopic” because as I looked at the counter-top, I could see tiny glints of light in certain places where I could not see the actual piece of glass causing those glints of light.

I remember thinking (in my pre-dawn, pre-caffeinated condition of extraordinary grogginess) “Oh great. This is going to be a pain to clean up.”

And it was. 

Once I got some slippers on my feet and a broom in my hand, I discovered the shrapnel from the cup covered a large area of the kitchen. I swept the floor first, then mopped the floor. The floor mats (luckily not carpeted) in front of the sink and counter would go outside for a vigorous pounding.

Moving on to the counter-top, I considered the stick of butter sitting there. It was missing only one small pat, which had graced a serving of carrots from the roast last night.

Almost a whole stick of butter.

In my mind’s eye, I could see myself carefully scraping a thin layer off all six sides to save that stick of butter from being wasted… and then a small, still voice in my head said,

“Exactly how much broken glass is acceptable in your butter, Dan?”

And then I threw that stick of butter away.

Later, as I was wishing I had been more careful as I reached for that morning coffee cup, it occurred to me that the stick of butter answered a question that had come up in Bible Study the day before. 

We had been talking about when God called Moses through the burning bush to go back into Egypt and free the Israelites from their slavery. God answers all of Moses’ questions and objections, Moses tells his father-in-law, Jethro, that he is going back to Egypt, Jethro says, “Go in peace” and Moses and the caravan are on their way. Moses has been called, God’s great plan to save His people has been put into place and then, seemingly out of the blue, Exodus 4:24 says:

At a lodging place on the way the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. (ESV)


That seems rather unexpected and harsh.

As it turns out, the reason for all of this is that Moses had not circumcised his second son. God had commanded that the sons of His people would be circumcised. Moses’ wife, Zipporah, came from a different culture where men were circumcised before marriage, not shortly after birth. So, for Moses, leaving that child uncircumcised was sin. It was disobedience to God. Moses could not go on this grand mission the LORD Himself had called him to if he was unrepentant of sin –any sin, no matter how good the reason and no matter how microscopic.

We instinctively, completely, and totally understand and agree that the  acceptable level of broken glass in a stick of butter is absolutely none. Zero. Not one of us would knowingly and willingly accept or use a stick of butter with any shattered glass in it all. Zero tolerance.

And yet, somehow, we believe those tiny voices that say the we should willingly allow and accept small amounts of sin in our lives, in our culture, in our nation.

And we allow the acceptable amount of sin to grow as we become desensitized to the broken glass that slowly tears us apart as it increases the internal bleeding that God told us would lead to certain death.

But we cannot speak life and truth and joy and peace to others with shards of broken glass in our gullets.

The bad news is that we stink at being sinless. Everyone of us will some day knock that coffee cup off the shelf before we have come to our full senses.

The good news is that there was someone whom God sent who was and is sinless. There was someone who can not just remove the shards of broken glass, but can make it as if we never knocked that cup off the shelf in the first place.

As every preacher on Kinship Christian Radio will tell you, Jesus removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12) Because of Jesus, our sins are not just forgiven, the Father willingly forgets them. (Hebrews 8:12) When we repent and confess our sins, we are washed clean and stand before the judge of all humanity not just “not guilty” but innocent and dearly loved. We are redeemed and set free!

Today’s Praise 

And this righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no distinction, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Romans 3:22-24 (BSB)





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