I’m not sure your soap brand of choice, but I use Axe body wash in the shower (my apologies if this post has quickly launched into the TMI zone for you). The other day I noticed a slogan on the back of my body wash container. It said:
“The cleaner you are, the dirtier you get.”
If you’ve seen any of the commercials for Axe products you know that they tend to be a bit risqué, and this sentence got me thinking. Logically, it’s true. But as you can see from the picture they add to it they aren’t building on logic alone.
As I thought more about that sentence (I do some of my best thinking in the shower), I realized that the inverse is also true. Then I realized that this is actually an argument that Jesus once made (you might imagine how this is a somewhat alarming train of thought to get to from where I started).
We read about this in Luke 7:40-43:
Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
Basically, Jesus is explaining that the more sinful you are the more grateful you are when you are forgiven. This is said in the context of dinner at a smug religious leader’s house.
There’s another example in Matthew 9:10-13:
While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
Same concept said a different way.
Insight from Axe body wash: the cleaner you are the dirtier you can get.
Insight from Jesus: the dirtier you are the cleaner you can get and the more grateful you will be as a result.
We all are dirty when it comes to our sin but some people are more aware of that than others. The religious leaders had convinced themselves that they were spiritually clean and that they had no need for Jesus. The sinners around Jesus realized what He could provide for them and jumped at the chance.
This leads us all to a natural question: are you aware of the dirt in your life? Second, are you becoming dirtier or cleaner? Getting dirty is easy but getting clean requires the grace of Jesus Christ and a truthful acknowledgement of where we are without Him. That process should fill us with gratitude always.