Wednesday, March 30, 2016

How Clean Do You Want to Be?

Daniel likes to be helpful. But he still requires supervision. Unless he's really hungry and especially likes what we're eating, he tends to take his time at dinner and is usually the last one left at the table. One night recently though he was the first one to finish and took his plate to the kitchen before the rest of us were done. After awhile, we could hear pots and pans banging around.

Daniel,” I called out to him. “What are you doing?

Put away,” he called back.

My mind immediately went to the dishwasher (which I have come to appreciate this year as one of the best inventions ever). I knew that the dishes inside were dirty. “No,” I told him as I quickly got up from the table. “Those dishes aren't clean.” There he was, our happy little helper, putting dirty dishes away in the cupboards.

Maybe they had looked “clean enough.”


I am blessed to have a team of four wise women who are walking with me through my sabbatical season. They challenged me to block out 1-2 hours every day during my two month Reflect and Refocus phase, to do some personal journaling and listening prayer. I started yesterday and it was helpful for me to process on paper some areas of frustration where I've been stuck.

Today though I must have glanced up at the clock five times, feeling like I was done and that one hour seemed painfully long to be looking so closely at myself. It's much easier to feel “clean enough,” like the dirty dishes in our cupboards. It's not really that difficult for me to pretend that everything looks fine, when the lights are dim and I do a quick check in the mirror. Today the mirror lights felt quite bright and exposing, as I ended my reflection time reading Matthew 23:25-28.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean. Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside they are full of dead men's bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”

I sure don't want to be a hypocrite. Or have Jesus call me a whitewashed tomb. I want to be clean from the inside out. And yet, I can relate with Peter. Give Jesus my dirty stinky feet to clean?

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

“Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

Jesus answered, “A person who has had a bath needs only to wash his feet; his whole body is clean.”
(John 13:8-10)

I want to be clean. Not just the I-believe-in-Jesus-so-I'm-already-saved-clean. But the daily throwing-out-the-dead-men's-bones-and-stuff-I-don't-really-want-to-see-clean. 

God, help me to overcome my resistance to your cleaning process.

How clean do you want to be?



Related posts:
Clean Windows
Dirty/Clean

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