What would you do if you were rushing down the stairs of a NYC subway station in the pouring rain with impatient people pressing all around you…and you spot a penny on the ground? Probably do what most people would and what I was going to do the day I found myself in this situation many years ago…keep it moving, right? Naturally. But this particular day, I sensed a teaching lesson was coming when I felt prodded by God to pick it up. From that day until today, I’ve always made it a point to pick up coins on the ground no matter how dirty they were because of the value they intrinsically carry and because well, pennies add up. The lesson I learned back then was a very different one from the one I was taught today by the dirty little penny I found on my walk.
I saw it. Laying there on the ground. It was barely recognizable because of how dirty it was. It was so dirty that I stepped right over it and disregarded my earlier pact to pick up any coins I would find on the ground. I slowed my walk, as I contemplated reasons as to why this penny was the exception…how it was truly just “too dirty” to touch and what does one penny really even matter?
Then it hit me…I felt myself being invited back to that classroom again with more to learn about life through the lens of a penny. Except this time, it wouldn’t be just a topical lesson to be learned, but more so a personal heart lesson to be had with God. There were some things I needed to see clearer and also some areas needing a good ‘ole heart-cleanse.
I turned around and picked up this dirty little penny. Within seconds of tangibly feeling the grit and grime of it in my hands, I began to see some things as to how it relates to us and also, specifically, me.
So many thoughts flooded my soul….
A penny, like us, no matter how it looks on the outside will always hold 100% value-no amount of dirt can ever take it away. Maybe you can relate to the dirty penny laying on the ground and struggle with feeling worthless and ashamed at whom you’ve become? Perhaps people have stepped right on over you because they have wrongly judged you and labeled you as being just too dirty for any good. Or possibly you have been the one to look down on someone else who has been a bit dirtied up and have given up on a hope for they’re future because…they are just too dirty.
And then, it hit home for me.
What about me? What is my dirty little penny? Who or what has been “just too dirty” for me to pick up?
The word “dirty” struck a cord in me because of an association it has had with a personal internal struggle I have wrestled with for some time now: Forgiveness towards men, specifically in the area of pornography and lust. Lots could be said here with having been a college/beach volleyball player and New York City model, I have experienced firsthand the pains of being the object of this dirt. But what I saw today more compassionately through this penny is that behind each of the men struggling with lust IS a man, who at his core is made in the image of God and valued as a human being…who just needs some help with getting his dirt cleaned off, just as I do mine. (And, we ALL have dirt, just may look different.) So I began to think of all the men I have seen as the dirty little penny and in tears began to forgive them asking God to help and heal them…and also-me. The cleansing of peace began to wash over my soul and my once blinded eyes began to see the true value of who they are. Looks like the dirt found on my penny was…actually more on me in this.
What about you? Do you have a dirty little penny in your heart too, that needs some washing? Or maybe you feel like you are it? Let me encourage you that NOTHING and no ONE is too dirty for God! No matter what you have done or how you may feel about yourself… You are SO deeply loved and valuable-dirt and all! God is there to help. He is THEE best washer out there and makes us shine again just as we were created to do! And, if you’re struggling with someone else’s dirt, remember they too, are in the process of getting their dirt cleaned off and in need of grace, love, and forgiveness, again…just like you and me. Let me tell ya-FORGIVENESS and PRAYER are the most powerful cleaning agents out there to help with dat scrub-a-dub-dubbin’! Sure felt good to use a lot of it myself today!
So, let’s be gracious to ourselves AND to one another remembering…we are all made in the image of God and 100% valuable to the core of our being (dirt and all!)
Oh, the power of one cent : )
P.S. If you want to read more about the way pornography is affecting our lives and how to get help in however you may be personally affected…Covenant Eyes (http://www.covenanteyes.com/blog/ ) is a great resource.