Jessica Rocha was very frustrated with her children’s behavior. They were stealing and bullying at school. Jessica had tried a variety of punishments including grounding, taking away sports, toys, and privileges, but nothing seemed to be working. In her continued struggle to correct her children, she decided to make a t-shirt describing the child’s actions. The shirt read, “I steal!!! Steal means taking property belonging to someone else without permission…” and the back read, “I steal…Please watch me.” While the school did not approve of the t-shirt and made the daughter covered it up, Jessica Rocha said that the shirt worked and her child stopped stealing after just one day of wearing it (Yahoo).
Even though some may disagree with this form of discipline, the thought is very interesting nonetheless. What if everyone had to wear t-shirts identifying their sins? Surely we would hold our children a little closer when a person with a t-shirt reading, “pedophile” or “kidnapper” walked by. It would certainly make us cautious around shirts identifying a person as a “murderer” or “thief.” We would be skeptical when talking with people whose shirts said, “liar,” “manipulator,” or “cheater.”
It’s also possible that people would be uncomfortable around us because of what we have done. Since “all have sinned” (Romans 3:23), we would all have something shameful on our shirts. What would yours say? Would it make you feel guilty and ashamed? If everyone we came in contact with knew our shameful past, it would certainly be a powerful motivator for us to show that we have changed. People would constantly strive to change the message on their shirts, or at least be able to say, “I don’t do that anymore; I’ve changed.”
In reality, it’s probably good we don’t have every sinful detail spelled out for others. However, just because we don’t wear shirts that spell out our faults, this doesn’t make those sins any less of a reality. While our sins usually aren’t made public, there are no sins hidden from God (Hebrews 4:13). The good news is that God offers us a chance to put our shirts in the “spiritual washing machine” (Acts 22:16). Notice how 1 Corinthians 6:8-11 words it:
“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”
God is offering everyone a fresh, clean beginning through baptism (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21; Mark 16:16), and by remaining faithful (Revelation 2:10). Our spiritual t-shirts could say a lot about our passed, but if we are in a right relationship with God, then that t-shirt now simply reads, “Washed in Jesus.”
The question is: what does your t-shirt say right now?