I was skeptical. My grandmother had invited us to her church’s antique/craft/bake/any-other-Christmas-junk-you-can-find sale. It was one of those sales where there was tons of useless stuff for cheap.
Maybe that’s why I barely glanced at the grubby silver heart lying among piles of dishes, broken electronics, and odd knick-knacks. I am not familiar with silver (actually, I’m not really familiar with any kind of precious metal), so I didn’t even know it was that. Sure, I looked at it, but I thought, Eh, that’s kind of gross. And even if I could clean it up… I kept walking.
But a few minutes later, my mom walked over. She held out the metal heart-shaped jewelry container to my grandmother, asking if it would polish up nicely. With a confident, almost careless “Yes, that would polish up just fine,” from my grandmother, my mom asked me, “How about this?” I took it and turned it over, revealing an even grimier textured underside. The inside was red velvet. It looked almost like something a guy would put a diamond ring inside and use to propose to his true love, except for being filthy and opening and closing too easily. Well, maybe someone had proposed with it 50 years ago.
I still had that doubtful, this-is-all-junk attitude. But seeing that the price tag was only $3, and my grandmother had given me some money to spend, I put it in the Market Basket bag with the other purchases.
And when I got home, I plopped the Market Basket bag in a corner and promptly went about my life. Every once in a while I’d take out a book I’d bought from the bag, read some of it, stash it on the shelf or toss it haphazardly on the floor. But the bag remained quite heavy with its dingy silver.
Finally, in the process of cleaning my room, I happened upon the bag again. Shoved in a corner with only the heart left, it didn’t look promising. But I gently set the heart in a wooden chest filled with other crafts.
The next day, I took it out again. Turned it over, opened it. I saw some beauty now. The red velvet was really its only hope, but I took it downstairs and asked my mother if we had what we needed to polish it.
“Yup,” she answered. “Toothpaste.”
Toothpaste. Toothpaste is going to wash all this crud off? Sheesh, it was just going to stick to the silver even more and dry in hard white swirls! But I grabbed a washcloth and started rubbing.
And rubbing some more. White smears had replaced the black grunge, and the white washcloth was covered in big dark smudges with the same texture as toothpaste. Only, now this was the color toothpaste you wouldn’t bring within two inches of your face, let alone stick it in your mouth and scrub your teeth with it.
But let me tell you something: all that rubbing paid off. I wiped the silver with a wet washcloth, dried it, saw the sheen… and scrubbed some more until that was the best I was going to get at that point. I could see my reflection in the silvery, shining surface.
That silver heart was restored. It was redeemed.
You were grimy. Your heart was covered in filth and muck. But Jesus saw you, saw what was inside – that gorgeous red velvet, the pure silver that lay underneath the dirt – and He picked you up and brought you home. Then He scrubbed you with his own blood and made you shine purer than any silver could ever shine.
Maybe all that the world saw in you was sin, and hurt, and anger. But Jesus saw a heart that needed to be loved. He saw you. And he picked you up and cleaned all that sin, and all that hurt, and all that anger away until the only thing others could see when they looked at you was the reflection of His face.
You are redeemed.
“Do everything without complaining or arguing so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.”