I cleaned our kitchen windows today. You might remember how hard it was to see out of them in Seeing Past Suffering. I love clean windows, especially when the sun is shining. Now I can see clearly to our trash hill out back. The dirt and smudges and bird poop stains are mostly gone.
Today I thought about how we have to clean both sides of the glass in order to tell which side the dirt is on. Several times as I was scrubbing the outside--hoping I wasn't leaning out the window too far and about to free fall 9 floors down--I found that the dirt was refusing to come off. This is on the inside? And sure enough it was, and I had missed it the first time around. Multiple scrubbings, scrutinizing my work, and all the while feeling convicted about the work that God needs to do inside of me.
Those teachings of Jesus on kindness, forgiveness, patience. Those are for me, Lord?
This morning I had a bad attitude as I walked Daniel to school. I felt irritated with him for his slowness among other things, and I told him so. And then we entered his kindergarten and my countenance changed. I had a cheery smile for the teachers and a “早上好!” to greet them good morning. As I walked home I thought about the word hypocrite and how much I felt like one.
Jesus told the Pharisees that the outsides of their cups were nice and clean but the insides were filthy. Gulp. That's me. This dirt that won't come off is on the inside?
“First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.” (Matthew 23:26)
A few years ago in What Ruffles Your Soul? I mentioned being convicted by Jordan when she said, “If you're going to make us change our bad attitudes, you need to change yours too.” Ouch. Sometimes God uses our children to reveal an ugliness within us that we hope others won't notice.
But it's not about trying harder to be good. Or scrubbing the inside with everything we've got. That just wears us out.
I like the way John Eldredge explains the way we can “become good” in The Utter Relief of Holiness: “There is a way to be good again. The hope of Christianity is that we get to live life like Jesus. That beautiful goodness can be ours. He can heal what has gone wrong deep inside each of us. The way he does this is to give us his goodness, impart it to us, almost like a blood transfusion or mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. We get to live his life—that is, live each day by the power of his life within us...He makes us whole by making us holy. He makes us holy by making us whole.”
Yes, I like my clean windows. Because I like to see clearly. And today, cleaning my windows helped me to look at my heart more clearly. And to repent of my impatience, unkind words, and unforgiveness. Jesus, I open my heart for you to live your holy life in me.
I like the way it's described in the Message. He will give us a “glorious inner strength” and “Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in.” (Ephesians 3:16-17 MSG)
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)
What are you repenting of these days?