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Posts Tagged ‘spiritual mentor’

I can still see my mother poised on the top of the ladder, rubber kitchen gloves pulled up to her elbows.  Thrusting a brillo pad in a bucket of steaming water and ammonia, she’d scrub the walls until every dust streak or scuff mark disappeared.  Spring cleaning almost seemed to take on the same importance as a birthday to a child.

Because of my mother’s example, I learned how to sort laundry, polish copper pots, and properly fold bed sheets.  But, with four children and a full-time job outside of the home, I admit to cutting corners.  My walls rarely feel the sharp points of a scrub brush, dust bunnies nestle safely under the sofa, and I only clean my oven on an as needed basis or before major holidays—whichever comes first.

If I manage to maintain a presentable main level and clean toilets—despite having three sons—I am (mostly) satisfied.  After all, everything looks clean.

Christ addressed this type of pseudo -cleanliness when he said, “What sorrow awaits you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs–beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity.” (NLT)

In Jesus’ culture, tombs were a symbol of uncleanliness.  Anyone who came in contact with a tomb was considered impure for seven days.  Jewish law required him to complete a series of rigid purification rites in order to worship God.  Refusal resulted in being cast from the community—and worship.

Because a bright, shiny tomb is more easily avoided than a grey rock camouflaged on the hillside, graves were whitewashed annually.  Few would stumble over the lovely markers dotting the landscape and were able to avoid being polluted—at least externally.

Like a house with a freshly swept front step and flowers dotting the landscape, we can dress up our appearance and seem bright and shiny on the outside but still need cleansing in the hidden corners of our hearts.  The Pharisees did.  As Jewish religious leaders, they were admired for their knowledge, eloquent prayers, and practice of their faith.  Sadly, these traits were only skin deep and Christ knew it.  He saw past the carefully placed décor and noticed the masked filth.

As believers, Christ continues to cleanse us of our impurity.  He stoops down on hands and knees and washes the dirt from the dark places. There are times, though, when we hide our struggles, sins, or strivings from each other—even from ourselves.  We hang a cheerful smile on our faces and respond with the words, “I’m fine” when asked how we’re doing—even though we really need a hug or an encouraging word.

Let’s be more than presentable. Invite a friend or loved one into the heart of your home where she can get to know you.   Share life’s struggles.  Pray.  Be real.  A little dust won’t bother her.  She needs to clean her house, too.

 

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