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For some reason unbeknownst to my younger self, we were not allowed to wash our our dirty, doggy, outside yucky hands in the the kitchen sink. It was the rule: You go to the bathroom to wash.

Time after time, I heard, “Don’t you wash those dirty hands in my kitchen sink! I don’t want doggy hands in my sink!”

I wasn’t sure I understood–it was a stupid rule.



When I became a mom, I began to kind of understand–doggy and really dirty [like dirt digging] hands, especially if there were dishes in the sink, are best cleaned in the bathroom. Likewise, it’s probably best, if little people too short to reach the sink make that trip down the hall to the bathroom.

Kids don’t understand these things, and to them, such rules are stupid.

Recently, M2, who isn’t tall enough anyway to be using the kitchen sink to wash his hands, was up there. I mean up there…on the counter…”washing” those 4-year-old little hands.

I came in on the tail end of that episode, but here’s what I saw…. M2, somewhat dangling on the side of the counter, was leaning over the sink and a huge, watery mess was all around the sink. When I asked what he was doing, he assured me he was just washing his hands. The dish detergent was not in its spot; the dish drainer was askew; the sprayer was pulled out at least half way, and water was all around. Oh, and he was wet from his head to his belly.

He had been innocently distracted by all the ‘fun’ things all around.

And I did what most mamas would do–I fussed at him for washing his hands in the kitchen sink and told him, “You go to the bathroom to wash your hands!”

But then I realized something: It’s not as much about washing hands in the kitchen sink as it is about being distracted by all the things around it.

Consider King David

When God tells us not to do something, it’s to protect us from that and all the mess around that thing. When He said, “Do not covet,” it was to protect us.

Coveting someone else’s things leads to envy, jealousy, and bitterness deep within us. If we chose to act on our covetousness–taking what’s not ours–we not only break God’s law but man’s.

David should have been in battle, but he wasn’t. He was home with idle time, and his heart was not guarded. When he saw a beautiful woman. He inquired of her, and he found out she was married. That didn’t stop him; after all, he was the king! He sent for her, slept with her, and she conceived. To cover up his act, David had Bathsheba’s husband killed. (The story is much greater than my short summary, so go check it out in 1 Samuel 11.) The fact that he saw a woman was not David’s problem; it was the fact that he coveted her.

Innocently Distracted: Why It's Important to be on Guard

Innocently Distracted

It can start out simple enough–just like washing dirty hands in the kitchen sink–but before long, you find that you moved on to acting on your desires. See, it’s not always just about the thing, but the things around the thing. It’s about how we don’t know when or how to stop once we decide to dabble and broaden our scope.

Sometimes seemingly innocent things catch our attention and cause us to venture in directions we wouldn’t ordinarily explore. Surely, I am not alone in this.

It could be as simple as spending too much time on social media, not giving your family the time they need and deserve. Or, it could be like David, lying to get what you want, trampling those in the way.

If we are not careful, we leave ourselves unguarded, thus open to distractions. Even innocent distractions can lead us down roads we never thought we’d go.

The good news is that no matter what the thing is, we can be rescued from that place! David was, and God called him a man after his own heart.

It’s funny how the kids and can be the best teachers! I’d like to internalize the truth that so many times, it’s not about the dirty hands meeting the kitchen sink.  It’s about how I use that as an excuse to get caught up in things I am better off without. I can make a mess of things pretty quickly, just like M2 did that day, all the while telling myself that I was just washing my hands.

Was there a time when you participated in something innocent enough but found yourself in a place you never thought you would be? Share your thoughts!