One morning as I was preparing for a parenting meeting, I decided I would take my second cup of coffee with me in a very cool travel mug.
Why is it a cool travel mug? I am so glad you asked! Because it happens to be in two of the best colors ever, black and purple. Not only are they the Baltimore Ravens’ colors (Go Ravens!), but I also happen to look ravishing in black and purple.
Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes, putting coffee in the mug and running out the door.
I knew when everyone saw me enter the meeting that morning, they would be thinking, “Ohhhh. Ahhhhh. Look at that mug! I wish I had a cool black and purple travel mug.”
The envy, the admiration, would be palatable. I felt my back straighten, my shoulders square. I was so engrossed in myself, I mean, in innocent thoughts of approval and acceptance (yeah, that sounds better), that I grabbed said cup from the back of the sink and absentmindedly poured the remaining coffee (did I mention that it was Starbuck’s French roast coffee?) in said cup.
I looked down. Hmmm. That’s interesting. Why did the coffee foam up at the top?
I drew the cup closer to my face. I examined it. I was puzzled. And then it hit me. The unmistakable smell and realization that…
There was mold in my cool, it’s-gonna-be-the-envy-of-all cup!
I had no choice. Right down the drain. All of it. Starbucks French Roast coffee along with the nastiness I had overlooked.
I washed out the mug with soap and water and decided to take it with me to the meeting. They always serve coffee, so I would refill it there.
Which is exactly what I did. But when I brought it up to my ready lips, my nose unmistakably declared, “Ummm, lady, can’t you smell that? It doesn’t smell like coffee. It still smells like, you know, that nasty stuff.”
I wanted to ignore it. “You’re just being overly sensitive, Nicole.” But it was undeniable.
“I can take care of this”, I thought. I dumped what was now the second cup of coffee from my cool mug and washed it yet again. Insert more coffee and creamer. Bring I-am-starting-to-think-this-mug-isn’t-so-cool-anymore mug up to my lips. Oh no. There it was again! The lingering smell of what I had dumped down that drain, of what I had washed out twice now.
Next? You guessed it. The third cup of coffee went quickly down the drain. And this time, I sheepishly realized that I was going to have to put the thing in the dishwasher on the sanitizing cycle.
All that coffee-dumping and cup-cleaning got me to thinking. Often I am skating through life, downing cup after cup of Joe, and everything seems to be fine. Then I get up one morning, pour something into my mug – and it could be something quite wonderful, like that French roast – but much to my dismay, something else entirely surfaces.
Bitterness. Unforgiveness. Fear. Pride.
I might try to push it back down with a spoon (ewww). Or I could skim it off the top (yuck!). Maybe I’ll just ignore it today (are you serious?). But, friends, I have to face the facts; I’ve got to get rid of it before I can enjoy that warm and wonderful cuppa.
And, here’s the catch. What happened when I tried to get rid of it on my own?
Believe me, it wasn’t for lack of trying, was it? Was I sincere? Certainly! Did I work hard to get it cleaned up? You bet! And yet that lingering scent remained.
It wasn’t until I took it out of my own hands and placed it in the dishwasher that my mug was thoroughly cleansed, nasty scent and all.
Here’s the thing: we can’t do it on our own. But, don’t lose hope! Whatever it is that is sitting down at the bottom of your mug or rising rapidly to the top, there is Someone who can cleanse it all.
1 John 1:9 says, “But if we confess our sins to him, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong.”
You know, when I pulled that mug out of the dishwasher that night, the first thing I did was stick my nose in it and take a big whiff. And you know what? It smelled great!
We have a “cosmic dishwasher”, so to speak. God, Abba Father, Jesus Christ stands at the ready, door open, just waiting for us to place our dirty mug on the rack.
The question is no longer, what’s in your cup today, because truth be told, we’ve all got a bit of junk in our cups, don’t we?
Now the question is, what are you going to do with that cup?