When I was a little girl, I had definite ideas of what a soul looked like. I was convinced it was like a pearly-white opalescent bubble about two inches across that resided someplace in the body, probably near the esophagus or something. Despite its fragile appearance, it had to be tough… tough enough to handle all the iniquities people do during the course of their life. Yet it was also supposed to be a thing of indescribable unearthly beauty.
Funny to peek into the imagination of a child, isn’t it?
Fast forward a few decades. A couple of weeks ago, I saw a random comment on an article in which the commenter was discussing the end of the world. I glanced with disinterest through the comment until one line arrested my vision and stopped me in my tracks. The line read, “All the populations of the world will be able to see their souls for a period of time...”
I don’t remember the context of this line, but the notion is scary. What would it be like, to see my soul? To actually see it? To see, in graphic detail, all the ugly horrible thoughts and actions I’ve had and done? All the forgotten misdeeds and nasty thoughts and snarky moments? I have a strong feeling my soul wouldn’t be pearly and opalescent.
I like to pretend I’m a pretty decent person – I haven’t robbed any jewelry stores lately – but it’s a human characteristic to ignore the bad stuff about ourselves and just remember the good. We all have thoughts, words, and deeds that are damning, but we’ll go merrily through life pretending that the things “done and left undone” don’t matter in the overall scheme of things. We’re all pretty decent people in our own eyes, right? It’s not like we’ve robbed any jewelry stores, right?
But everything is recorded on our soul. Every little transgression, every witchy thought or piece of gossip that escapes our lips, every person we ignore because we don’t want to be bothered, every insult we lob at our spouse or kids, every piece of gum wrapper we toss aside instead of using a trash can – everything, no matter how large or small – are recorded on that pure, pearly bubble. There’s no hiding from it. And that opalescent bubble gets dirtier and dirtier.
Since reading that line, the image of seeing my soul has haunted me. It’s a frightening thought. After all, what is my life but a pile of filthy rags? If I had the ability to pluck that pearly opalescent bubble out of my chest right now and look at it, how tarnished and dirty would it be? Far from being a pure and spotless thing, it would be ugly and stained with my many transgressions. In short, it wouldn’t be a pretty sight.
But then I remembered something. Maybe my soul isn't terribly ugly. I remembered that every time I earnestly seek forgiveness, that ugly tarnished bubble is wiped clean and pure once more. Again and again and again. Whenever I ask, that gift is freely given. Wow. It’s like ultra strong Formula 409 – it wipes off the grease and scrubs off the stains and makes things shiny.
After all, what would our bodies be like if we never took a bath? At the end of a week we’d be pretty stinky. By the end of a month, no one would want to be in the same room with us. What would we be like if we hadn’t bathed in a year, or ten years, or for our whole life? Ewwww.
That’s how I see our souls. If we don’t “bathe” our souls in the blood of the lamb, they get dirtier and dirtier, dusty and tarnished, filthy and ugly. If we don’t “bathe” them for a week, they’re pretty stinky. By the end of a month, those pearly bubbles would be greasy and rank. By the end of a year, or ten years, or a lifetime, they’d be horrifically ugly, blackened with filth, and frankly revolting.
But that good ol’ celestial Formula 409 works every time. One squirt – one sincere and heartfelt prayer – and that opalescent bubble can shine forth once more, clean and bright.
Psalm 32:1 -- Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.