on the surface cleaning

I’m not a great cleaner

the tedium of tidying and scrubbing surfaces to find them immediately defaced by the progress of family life that marches with steadiness straight after them… it breaks my will to start

but when we have people coming over suddenly I am motivated – heaven forbid they would see me for what I really am

when it comes to the possibility of judgement, I suddenly care

when someone else is looking, it suddenly matters to me what they might see

having a tidy clean house all the time – I’m just not bothered enough to do the work of it
so what matters to me is not the truth of who I am, just the perception of who I am

Jesus had some run-ins with a group of people we love to judge on, The Pharisees

he described them like a cup that was shiny on the outside but filthy on the inside

and I am just the same – 
I want the perception of perfection over the reality of depth of character and substance

the inside of the cup is disease ridden, there’s so much brokenness in there its enough to be a lifetime of redemption work

but redemption work requires some partnership from me, not for salvation – that came free, but to allow the habits to die – the feet and voice that rushes to sin, the eyes that provide sweeping judgements, the selfishness that locks others out… the list of work goes on and on

but I have to allow myself to be stripped down, when we are asked to confess ourselves to each other did we really think that would be easy? how much do we want the promised healing that comes with it?

because it is much easier to turn up and appear shiny on the surface when it counts – to say the words and do the deeds that reassure others we have it together. We run a tidy house here.

Man looks at the outward appearance but God looks at the heart – if the prophet Samuel, one of our giants needed reminding of this perhaps we do too.

Today instead of tidying up for the visitors let’s be vulnerable. Let’s humbly arrive with breakfast spilled on our shirts, the confession that we left our bible at home because we haven’t read it for so long we couldn’t find it, let’s tell each other that we need a safe platform to confess our sinfulness

and let’s find one another faithful to journey with us, again, to the hope found at the bottom of our darkest moment – the foot of the cross.

Because, He who began a good work in us will be faithful to bring it to completion.

Let’s open the lid, unlock the door, let the light in so that the real work of tidying up can be done for good.

God, it breaks my heart how well the label hypocrite fits me. 
I need you to do the real work in me, the work that no-one might notice or applaud, the work only you can do and the work that matters more than any set of good works I might achieve. I need your forgiveness and mercy – in greater measure than anyone will ever know. 
You are my only hope.

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