"I don't want you eating pomegranates. They'll stain your shirt."
It seems I heard that all the time from my mother when I was in grade school. Gotta love the Catholic school uniforms - white shirt and plaid skirts. We didn't have many other restrictions about what we could eat or could not eat, as long as it would not mess up our braces. But get caught eating a pomegranate ---
And then I dared. A classmate offered to share her pomegranate with me, and I accepted. Then suddenly it happened. A red stain - a deep, deep red stain - tainted what was the cleanest of white. I suddenly felt a familiar queasiness in my stomach. I was caught not only red-handed from the seeds, but red-bloused as well. I spent the rest of the day worrying. "Mom is going to kill me when she sees this!"
It wasn't so much that the stain wouldn't come out, no matter how much of what product or laundry trick she would try. And it wasn't that my uniform shirt would have to be replaced with a new one. No, much worse than that. I ate of the forbidden fruit. I had deliberately committed an act of disobedience against a parent who loves me, somebody who I wanted to please above all else. There was nothing I could do to undo it and make it right again.
There is a wonderful passage in the book of Isaiah that comes to mind:
"Come now, let's settle this,"Just as there was nothing I could do to hide the pomegranate stain from my mother, there is nothing you or I can do to hide our sins from God. On our own, we cannot remove the stain of our disobedience when we stand before God. But through faith, when we confess our sins to God, He is faithful to forgive us and restore us to right standing with Him. When this happens, God no longer sees us as soiled or ruined. He sees us as pure, white, and brand new!
says the Lord.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
I will make them white as snow.
Though they are red like crimson,
I will make them white as wool."