Remove the Tarnish

In preparation for the upcoming holiday season, I set out to remove the tarnish from several silver pieces. Because I barely managed to purchase presents last Christmas, little else was accomplished. That included polishing silver.

Well. I did swipe tarnish remover across the topside of one tray, but didn’t bother with the underside. No one would see it, right?

My thesaurus describes tarnish with these words. Stain, taint, soil, smudge, and the mark of Cain. I found that last one an interesting reference to Adam and Eve’s son, Cain, who killed his brother, Abel.

As I rubbed liquid tarnish remover over the same silver tray I half-polished last year, I thought about sin, and how it tarnishes us. The side I skipped took longer to remove the tarnish than the side I cleaned. No big surprise there. But as I worked on the neglected underside of the tray, I thought about how difficult it is to remove sin – tarnish – from our lives if we don’t deal with it fully and completely when it first crops up.

I don’t believe it was the noxious fumes from the tarnish remover that sent my thoughts this direction, but it might have been.

According to Educational Innovations, tarnish is the result of a chemical reaction between the silver and sulfur-containing substances in the air, which forms black silver sulfide. This silver sulfide is what we call tarnish. Perhaps you already knew this.

The silver sulfide can be removed by stripping it from the surface. This can result in removing some of the silver along with the tarnish.

Another way to remove the offending tarnish is to reverse the chemical reaction and turn the silver sulfide back into silver by dipping the silver piece into a liquid designed to dissolve the silver sulfide. Or by applying the liquid with a cloth. Either way, after the tarnish remover is applied, the piece should be washed.

Thinking about reversing the effects of silver sulfide, and sin, I thought of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Yeah. I know. My thoughts go all over the place.

After the White Witch slays Aslan the Lion, death works backwards. Aslan is resurrected. The effects of Edmond’s sin, for which Aslan died, are removed. Edmond’s relationship with Aslan is restored. A great battle ensues and the White Witch is defeated. YAY!

Thanks be to God today the taint, stain, tarnish of sin has been removed from those who profess Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Christ’s blood sacrifice dissolves our sin just as surely as liquid tarnish remover dissolves the effects of silver sulfide on silver.

We might believe we only need to clean the outside to look good to others, but Jesus cleans up the inside. The more important side. The side he sees.

I find it utterly amazing Jesus would do that for us. We must never forget the baby in the manager is also the Savior on the cross and our resurrected Lord who sits on his throne waiting for the day his father says, “Go get your Bride.”

Realizing there are fewer and fewer of us who actually polish silver nowadays, might I suggest as we remove tarnish from our silver, we consider what it cost Christ to remove the tarnish of sin from our lives.

Whether we polish silver or not, each of us should deal with our sin quickly and completely. It only gets more difficult to remove the longer we put it off.

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Under the old agreement the priests stood before the altar day after day offering sacrifices that could never take away our sins. But Christ gave himself to God for our sins as one sacrifice for all time and then sat down in the place of highest honor at God’s right hand, waiting for his enemies to be laid under his feet. For by that one offering he made forever perfect in the sight of God all those whom he is making holy. Hebrews 10:11-14 (TLB)

I wish you well.


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2 thoughts on “Remove the Tarnish

  1. I very much enjoyed reading your analogy of tarnished silver and our sins. I thank Jesus that He is willing to clean us up; we just have to turn to Him and ask. Praise to You, Lord Jesus Christ!


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