OPINION: ALFORD: You might be a redneck if you've ever financed a tattoo

Apr. 21—Those redneck jokes are everywhere these days, and I can't help but laugh when I hear them.

Here are two I heard just the other day:

You might be a redneck if your dad walks you to school because he's in the same grade you are.

You might be a redneck if you've ever financed a tattoo.

I suppose rednecks are the last group that it's OK to poke fun at, perhaps because it's an all-inclusive bunch that includes people from pretty much every ethnic group.

A fellow joked the other day that a redneck told him his uncle, cousin and brother-in-law came to his family reunion. "To keep things simple," the redneck said, "I just called him 'Daddy.'"

I had to think about that one for a bit.

The beauty of redneck jokes is that they portray people and families who are more messed up than we are. But the truth is, we're all messed up to one degree or another. That's why we need Jesus, the One who can clean up our messes.

Our Lord is so kind to show us there is a better way.

"Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool" (Isaiah 1:18).

There's an old story about a woman who visited a yard sale where she found a badly tarnished silver tray and pitcher set for $2.50.

The shopper wondered aloud if the stains could be removed.

The lady running the yard sale rubbed on some cleanser and the tray and pitcher took on a beautiful luster. Before placing them back on the table, she attached a new price tag that read: $250.

Stained and tarnished, that kettle didn't seem to be worth that much. But when the cleanser was applied, it was the most valuable item there.

A simple cleansing changed everything.

We may feel like we're pretty worthless when we're stained with the sins of the world. But get this: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

I could tell you so many stories of people I've met over the years who were stained by the sins of this world but who called out to Christ for cleansing and became valuable members of the family of God.

And what a family to be a part of. It's wonderful to be a child of God and to have spiritual brothers and sisters, even if some of them are rednecks.

Reach Roger Alford at 502-514-6857 or rogeralford1@gmail.com.