Then we arrived here and I stopped worrying. Obviously, no one had cleaned up for us even a little bit. I suppose they had swept, but the baseboards had not been touched in years, no exaggeration. Every room was surrounded by a thin black line a couple inches above the floor. And the bathrooms? One day I spent three hours cleaning top to bottom, stem to stern, on step stools and on my hands and knees, and you could barely tell it because the stains were so set in. And I must have scraped (with a knife) a quarter inch of soap scum off each soap holder, top and bottom. Dust was caked above doors, above electrical outlets, and in every crevice of anything that could catch it for the past twenty years. The air conditioner filter apparently had never been changed and you might be surprised what that makes blow out of the vents across the ceilings! No one had cleaned these shelves as they packed. I had to clean them before I could unpack. The concrete floor of the back porch was black when it should have been gray. I think that's enough for you to see what we had to deal with.
Maybe because of all that grime, whenever we came across something left behind, I picked it up with two fingers and immediately tossed it. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with anything that came from this filthy house.
But did I feel that way about the house I left behind? I wondered, when the buyer took down some of the things that were attached to the house and we were instructed to leave, if he had felt the same way about our things. I hope that the obvious effort we had gone to made a difference, but why should it? If he found any dirt at all, it probably disgusted him as much as this dirt disgusted me.
And isn't that always the case? My dirt is not as bad as someone else's. I could even change the diapers of my own children and grandchildren a whole lot more easily than I could anyone else's children's.
And that makes it harder to see our dirt, doesn't it? And when we do, much less likely to be concerned about it. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? (Matt 7:3-4).
But dirt is dirt is dirt, and sin is sin is sin, as James indicated in 2:11. Yours is not worse than mine, nor mine than yours. They are all evil in God's eyes, and when someone has the love (and courage) to tell us about them, it should be a cause for rejoicing and gratitude, not anger. Maybe we should all work on that a little more.
God dwells in the church, his people. Christ dwells in us by faith. Neither of them wants to live in a dirty house, no matter whose dirt it is.
Jesus answered him, If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him (John 14:23).