A couple of weeks ago there was a report claiming that there was more poo in the average man’s beard than in a toilet. The report was later rebuffed showing that beards had no more bacteria than any other body part, but gives me a good laugh.
I picture hipsters rushing out to buy razors to rid themselves of their ‘dirty’ facial hair. I imagine shopkeepers rubbing their hands together in anticipation of a spike in shaving items.
I don’t really have a beard, just a spikey scruff testifying to the fact that I haven’t shaved in about a week. Maybe I should shave just in case.
Though it may not be an obvious link this story made me consider what it means to be a Christian.
Poo itself is not overly mentioned in the Bible and certainly not linking it to beards. This probably is not a huge surprise, but it does talk about things that are unclean.
Perhaps the closest image the Bible uses is when clothes become dirty. Clothes are an image the Bible uses talking about salvation. In Revelation there is the repeated image of Jesus’ followers receiving white robes. It carries on the image from when Jesus ascended to heaven dressed in white.
David also writes about being unclean (Ps. 51). He has sinned and in this psalm he realises only God can get rid of the stain of sin. Years later Isaiah repeats the same idea. He writes sin has stained us scarlet but God will cleanse us white (Is. 1:18).
For Isaiah and David, the colour scarlet is the equivalent to being covered in poo. It’s dirty; it stinks; it carries disease; and it attracts pests.
The problem with being covered in poo is that you can try to clean it up a bit but it still smells.
The same is true for Christianity. No matter how much we try to clean ourselves up we can’t get rid of the stain of sin. Our best efforts are never good enough. David is right to realise he needs God’s cleansing.
God is the only one who can truly make us clean. If sin stains us scarlet, Jesus offers us new white clothes.
The question for all of us is how clean are you? Have you come to accept the cleansing of God? I know I have.
Oh, and by the way, I don’t have any poo in my beard.