Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | November 18, 2008

The Dust of Sin

As a follow-up to my post entitled Jesus in Two Words (16 Nov 08), I retrieved the following thoughts from my legal-pad archive. I jotted these thoughts on paper in May 1992. We have a tendency to look at sinful people and “write them off.” I hope these thoughts will provoke you to dip your finger in the fountain of grace and write something redemptive across broken lives.

• • • • •

It was a hot summer afternoon in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic. I was anxious to get home but knew it would be a while as I inched along at a snail’s pace.

My air conditioner was blowing at full speed while the outside temperature worked to frustrate its efforts to offer me any relief. How I wished I had left earlier or taken another route home. My frustration was reaching the boiling point as I baked in the heat in the slow-moving log jamb of automobiles.

That’s when I saw it — an old pick-up truck that hadn’t been washed in at least ten years. It was so covered in dirt that it was impossible to even determine the color of the truck. Even the windows were caked with a film of dust that served as a sort of crude window tint. It was the kind of vehicle on which any all-American teenager would have been tempted to write, “Wash Me.”

However, what caught my attention was a different message scrawled on the old pick-up truck. There, written on the dusty canvas of the back window, was a sincere and simple message: I love you Grandma and Grandpa. Love Kimberly.

When I read Kimberly’s message I stopped thinking about the traffic and the heat and started thinking about kids. Kids have a remarkable perspective. Leave it to a kid to see the filth on an old pick-up truck as a memo pad on which to scratch an uplifting message with a finger dipped in spit. “Kimberly’s grandparents are fortunate,” I thought to myself.

The Bible speaks of an occasion when some religious leaders brought a woman to Jesus — a woman caught in the very act of adultery (John 8:1-12). These men had somehow lost sight of the human being covered by the accumulation of years of filth and sin. The woman’s life was the kind on which any religious and pious person would have been tempted to scrawl the words, “Stone Me.”

But, Jesus had a different and remarkable perspective. He stooped to write something in the dust and then stood up and reminded the religious leaders that their lives were as covered by the dust of sin as the woman’s life. And then, after the woman’s accusers had all left, Jesus looked at her and wrote a new message across the filth that covered her life: Forgiven.

The woman was fortunate. What the religious leaders saw as grounds for stoning Jesus saw as a canvas on which to write a cleansing message of forgiveness and beginning again.

As we journey down life’s road we will see many lives covered with the dust of sin. In some cases we will not even be able to recognize the human being covered by the accumulation of years of living in filth.

When we encounter such people may we not write them off by scrawling cynical and judgmental messages across their broken lives. Instead, like Jesus and Kimberly, may we write uplifting messages of love, hope, forgiveness, and the joy of beginning again.


  1. Perspective…is something so rarely found, and oft forgotten in daily life. Thank you! This is one of those reminders and perspective-changing thought-provokers. A typical amazing Omar speaks from God’s word :).

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