Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I have had a housekeeper for years. We could talk about how many more woman-hours it takes to keep my home abroad clean without dishwashers, vacuum cleaners, and a dryer. However, my American house wasn't any cleaner; it was demonstrably worse. My friends like to make excuses for me. They look around and say, "Oh come on, you work," or "You have kids in the house." I do.  But I know the truth.  I need help.

 We just got a new lady.  She came with fire in her eyes and scrub brush in her hand.  I was ready to hide in the closet. The housekeeper we had just before her was only so-so.  Under her hand, we had been trying to keep things "presentable" and the private rooms had been badly neglected.  There were piles that I had stepped over so many times I didn't even see them anymore.  She started dragging dirty underwear out from under my bed, making piles of random bits of toys and papers, and telling me in her most serious voice that we had a LOT of stuff, so it was apparent things had really gotten out of hand, 

It got me thinking about God. What? The connection isn't obvious to you?  My situation with the housekeeper is a massive metaphor for my life.  I am "presentable."  I work hard to keep sin out of the public areas of my life, but in those private rooms in the back things are piling up.  When the sin in my private life reaches epic proportions it takes an enormous amount of effort to keep everyone herded into the public parts.  I wouldn't want anyone to take too close a look. Besides, I'm not even sure I know what's back there under the bed!  I'm sure that in the closets of my heart or under the bed of my mind there's stuff I'd be ashamed to pull out and have a good look at.  So I ignore it.  Even worse there are the piles of sin I've been stepping over for days, weeks, years.

I need God to scrub me out. I can't listen too closely to the friends who'd like to excuse me. Their kindness and tolerance hinder me from making the changes that need to be made.  I can't imagine that some "plan" or "self-help" program can solve the problem. I need to put God is His proper place-the creator is the only one capable of recreating me. I need to admit that my spiritual house is a real mess and I can NOT clean it by myself. All my tidying, all my scrubbing will at best get me a "whitewashed tomb" (Matthew 23:27).  I need God's help.  With my cooperation, He'll come in a fire in His eyes ready to turn over every bed, sweep behind every sofa, and scrub every floor. 

The metaphor does starts to break down.  I pay the housekeeper, and she is worth every penny.  But God paid for me.  I found the housekeeper, with a little help from my friends.  But God came looking for me.  My housekeeper spent the day then she left to go home. But God doesn't leave.  After He washed me clean in the waters of baptism, He sent His Holy Spirit to live in my heart.  He cleanses me day after day in the blood of His son.  

I wish I could say that I was never embarrassed.  That God had never metaphorically pulled dirty underwear out from under my bed.  But that would be a lie (1 John 1:8).  Thankfully, God has one more thing my housekeeper does not- unending, undying grace.

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