November 27, 2012

Whitewashed Tombs

“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 also will 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 are full of the bones of the dead 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.”
Matthew 23:25-28

“I just want it clean, okay?”

I slammed the used micro-fiber cloth into the laundry basket, frustrated with Erik for not understanding the importance of having a spotless house when our guests arrived.

“I don’t think it’s that big a deal,” he countered.

I growled under my breath as I stuffed yet another arm-full of half-used bottle and a stack of washcloths from the bathroom counter into the cabinet below. He doesn’t understand. It’s a HUGE deal. What will they think of me if they see our house like this? It’s a mess! I don’t want them to think I’m a horrible housekeeper—

Frozen with the washcloths halfway to their intended spot, I remembered Jesus’ lecturing the Pharisees calling them whitewashed tombs – beautiful on the outside, but rotten and decaying on the inside. He also said they were like cups that had only been washed on the outside – clean on the exterior, but full of nastiness on the inside. The point was getting them to clean up their hearts, not just put on a show of religiosity.

Washcloths still in hand, I realized I was no different than the Pharisees. I was running around, doing everything I could to look like I had the perfect, clean home, when in reality, I was just hiding the clutter in every available cupboard and closet, where it appeared ready to burst forth at any moment and reveal my hypocrisy.

For me, cleaning… ahem, cramming stuff away… was only whitewashing the problem: all those heart issues like lack of self-discipline, lack of self-control, laziness, pride, and selfishness are the real reasons I often resort to last minute closet-stuffing. I don’t want to spend the time and energy to sort and keep our house clean, and I tend to have this prideful notion that my time is better spent on more “important” things. Cleaning seems like a waste of precious time on a good day and beneath me on the worst. How arrogant can I get?!

Oh, dear…

The next time we have guests over, I either need to get over my pride and let them see the mess we really live in on a daily basis, or I need to get over my selfishness and laziness and go organize our junk ahead of time, instead of just stashing it out of sight at the last minute. Maybe I should post Matthew 23:25-28 on our bathroom mirror as a reminder!

Does anybody else have tricks for keeping yourself motivated to clean and organize your home, not just closet-cram when company comes? How do you keep your heart in the right place? 


  1. Oh my. That scripture applies to my life in other areas. As for our home and company - it took many years before I could comfortably say ( with clutter, not dirty) " we live in our home. "

    1. Glad to know I'm not the only one! Do you have any tips or tricks for getting things under control? (Now that we're expecting and I'm exhausted all the time, things are worse around here than ever!)