clean their feet. His love for them was unconditional -- in other words, He did not love them because they had or had not committed certain sins against Him or others. We should not be asking about the dirt, we should be cleaning it off!
Often Christians want to delve into all the gory details. They come to a Christian who has dirty feet and say "I want to wash your feet but first tell me what happened. How'd they get so dirty?" This is called voyeurism in English, a need to feast on the sins of someone else. Sometimes as the person begins to tell their story the Christian will realize "Oh my, this is worse than I thought. I can't get involved in this! I can't handle it." After a few minutes of details the Christian comes to the end of the tiny bit of mercy and kindness he started out with and begins to judge the person as too evil, beyond help. Many Christians then just drop the towel and walk away. Let me tell you now -- you can't wash someone else's feet while wearing judges robes! You have to take off your self-righteous garments -- your holier-than-thou attitude -- your Pharisaical mind set -before you can do any cleansing. Like Jesus did in the passage where he washed the disciples feet, you must lay aside your garment and put on love. Off with self-righteousness, pride, thoughts that you could never stoop so low as that other person. A true Christian will have the attitude of "I don't care what you did. If you are repentant and want to hear God's Word, I'll be kind to you. I will stick by you!
Let me remind you that Jesus even washed Judas feet. Christ stooped and washed his feet with the rest of the disciples, knowing full well that Satan had already begun to put betrayal in his heart. Even a modern-day Judas can come to repentance. Such habitual sins, sins that people choose to live in day after day, such as homosexuality, lesbianism, adultery we think of sometimes as sins that have people hopelessly hooked. But Paul says of them in 1 Cor. 6:9-11: "Know you not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind (homosexuals), nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE SOME OF YOU: but you were WASHED, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God." Such were some of us -- but we had our whole bodies washed by Jesus. Everyday Jesus continues to wash out feet. If Jesus is willing to forgive, why not us?
2 Tim. 2:24-26 "And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; and that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will"
We must be tenderhearted with everyone, because God may have mercy on them yet.
Finally, we come to the word "unity". Jesus was trying to teach us a lesson about unity. As Jesus approached Peter, the disciple drew back and said "..Lord, will you wash my feet?" Jesus answered "If I do not wash your feet, you have no part with me." Peter, if I don't wash your feet we have very little ground for fellowship or unity. Unity in a church does not come from great preaching, good programs, buildings -- it comes from taking up the towel! Think back on what Jesus did for you when he washed your feet? He wiped away your guilt, your fault, He cleansed the remnants of sin, you were made whole, clean. He put gratitude back into your heart, thankfulness, joy in your soul. He filled you with so much love that you would follow Him anywhere and do anything for Him. All you wanted to do was to be in communion and communication with Him because of all He did for you. This is the secret of unity!
When you take up the towel of mercy for a fallen, hurting brother, you encourage him by embracing him in his hurt -- by submitting in godly fear, washing away his feelings of worthlessness, anguish and despair, and by loving and caring for him. What will happen by your doing this for him? You have built a bridge. You have constructed a firm foundation for true unity and a lasting and glorious relationship between you and him. You