This winter has been non-typical for my region. At over 4,000 feet elevation, we’re accustomed to snow in January and February, but have instead received rain. My white vehicle, alas, does not fare well in the weather and looks dirty soon after a storm.
While filling up the tank, I washed the windshield recently. Though I took all the pollen and dust off, the windshield still looked dirty.
I took some of the brown paper towels at the pump, dipped one in the solution, and began to clean the inside of my windshield. I quickly dried with the other towels to prevent streaks. When I had finished, the view was so clear it looked like there was nothing between me and the outside!
My light brown paper towel, however, was an ugly shade of dark grey.
It occurred to me that we can be like that in our own lives. Though we appear to have it all together and polished and washed, we are still holding on to things inside that prevent us from seeing clearly.
In Matthew 23, Jesus came down pretty hard on the Pharisees who were very “spiritual”—but it was all pretentious. They wanted people to see them as great religious men, but their motives were impure and prideful.
“You are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside you are filthy—full of greed and self-indulgence! First wash the inside of the cup, and then the outside will become clean too.”
(and down a couple lines)
“You are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. You try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside, your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
If we don’t have our hearts right with each other, then we don’t have any room for God to work in our hearts.
If we claim to love God and yet spread hurt, negativity and bitterness to those around us, then what testimony do we have?
Wounded hearts need healing, or they will spread the woundedness.
King David, in Psalm 51, pleads from a position of remorse. He has just been confronted for his wickedness regarding Bathsheba and her husband. Starting in verse seven, he says
8 Oh, give me back my joy again;
When we are repentant and remorseful, we recognize that we are imperfect and are less likely to hold the imperfections of others against them. This is the first step in loving them.
I don’t want to be a painted tomb full of dead bones and impurity, but instead a beacon of hope and love. That I would be like a kerosene lamp that God is shining from and bringing light.
If the inside of the glass is dirty, the light will not be as effective.
You do not want a burnt offering.
17 The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit.
You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.
(Psalm 51:16-17 NLT)