Lessons from a Kicked-Over Paint Can

It was just a simple nudge. Just scooting the paint can over a few inches, so I could adjust my ladder. And then it happened.

In the same half-second I watched the paint can lose its equilibrium I also flashed back to a few moments before when I opted for the more convenient approach of simply resting the lid on top. I also flashed forward to potential buyers, walking through our house, noticing the oddly placed throw rug in the upstairs hallway.

“How could I be so stupid?!?”

“How am I going to fix this?!?”   (You may want to consider googling “how to clean paint out of carpet” after you finish this post – that way, you’ll be better prepared than I was).

Betrayed by my own stupidity and laziness, I tried to scoop up as much paint into the can as I could. I raced to the closest bathroom, looking for a place to safely put the now paint-soaked bucket. That’s when I realized I had also stepped in the puddle of paint and was now tracking it through our bedroom.

I’ll skip the details of the next three hours, but suffice it to say, there was a lot of frustration, panic, and desperation unleashed on that small area of carpet.

During those hours of soaking, scrubbing, and sponging up, God began to remind me of the cleansing power of His forgiveness. I began to pray (why not? I was already on my knees). As I began to see small patches of clean carpet, I reflected on Romans 5:20 – “Where sin abounded, grace abounded much more.” I saw a process unfold – desperation lead to restoration, which turned into jubilation, resulting in communication.

  1. Desperation – Earlier that day, I had no concern for how clean that carpet was. It simply wasn’t on my radar …until I kicked over a can of paint. Then I was desperate enough to do something about it. In the same way, we must realize how much sin abounds in our own hearts. Then, and only then, will we desperately come to God, seeking His forgiveness.
  2. Desperation leads to Restoration – That little area of carpet  came dangerously close to being torn up and replaced, but now it was completely restored! It was now the cleanest section of carpet in the house! Romans 5:20 tells us that God’s cleansing power is always stronger than our sin.
  3. Restoration leads to Jubilation – When I began to see that restoration was possible, I was filled with hope and happiness. The more I understood how large the gap was between the damage done and the complete cleansing, the more I rejoiced.
  4. Jubilation leads to Communication – The next morning I ran to the sight of the accident, looking to see if the morning sunlight would reveal a stain that our dim lighting had not. The stain was truly gone! I instantly wanted to tell someone, many people. There was something about my experience that compelled me to share it. The same is true for anyone that has experienced the forgiveness of Jesus.

Spend some time today reflecting on how much God (through Jesus) has forgiven you. Tell Him how thankful you are for His “abounding” grace. Then tell someone else.

2 Comments

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  1. God works in great ways doesn’t he? I love this story. I think you just wrote your first sermon for your first Sunday. Beautifully written.

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  2. Great message on how God tskes our messes and uses them!

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