Est. May 2008

17 April, 2013

Dishwashing

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside they are full of robbery and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup and of the dish, so that the outside of it may become clean also. (Matthew 23:25-26, NASB)
I tend to wash dishes three, maybe four times a day at home, and this verse always pops into my head when my hands are in the dishwater.

When I was younger I wondered how you could possibly wash just the outside of a cup or dish – the inside would get washed almost automatically, wouldn’t it?  And what dope doesn’t wash the insides of their dishes or cups?  Seriously, if I knew someone who didn’t wash the insides (the eating surfaces) of their tableware and their cooking pots I’d be declining every dinner invitation they sent me.

Of course, I understood what Jesus was talking about: you need to clean your own insides – your heart, thoughts, desires – before you cleaned your outsides.  One of Jesus’ main points was internal ‘cleanliness’: clean thoughts lead to ‘clean’ actions, and just cleaning the outside was a sham.

But there’s something else here.  Cleaning the insides of the cups and dishes can sometimes take some elbow-grease.  Ever get something stuck to the inside of a pot?  It can be a real bear getting it clean, can’t it?  And have you ever had this experience: go to cook something in a pot where you hadn’t quite gotten all the crud out of before, and the stuff you’re cooking ends up sticking, usually to the very same spot where the old crud was stuck?

That’s kind of like how sin works: if you haven’t scrubbed your ‘pot’ clean (or as clean as possible), more sin can come along and snag on the stuff that’s still there; if you don’t scrub regularly after that, pretty soon the crud is pretty thick, and you’ve really got to scrub and scour to get your ‘pot’ clean.

So what’s Jesus saying here?  To me He’s saying that you need to scrub the inside of your ‘pot’ regularly in order to keep sin from sticking and building up inside it.  That effort, just like scrubbing a pot in the sink, will get the outside of the pot cleaned pretty much automatically – it might just take a quick swipe with the dishrag and a rinse to take care of the outside.

And now, every time you wash dishes, you’ll probably be thinking about this verse.

You’re welcome.

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