Is the inside clean?

Published 2:00 pm Sunday, August 28, 2022

We are leaving a memorable trip to North Carolina with a new appreciation for this mountainous state. It’s not just that the state can boast of the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, inviting towns, rocks galore, and amazing waterfalls, it can take pride in being a litter-free state — at least in the places we visited.

There were no Walmart bags hung up in trees along the highways or paper cups and empty beer cans gathered in ditches or roadsides. We didn’t see any road crews picking up litter, so we assumed the locals were mindful of their beautiful state and wanted to keep it that way.

Our hikes led us to some remote and out of the way places — places where litterbugs could have left garbage and not been caught, but all the trails were free of any man made items. We also noticed that all the lawns, small and sizable, were well-maintained and most featured manicured shrubs and displays of flowers.

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While Othel and I were enjoying some vacation time, I thought about Tahya and Kevin tackling the arduous task of getting their house ready for sale. Space had been suggesting and then it started demanding. As their family was rapidly enlarging, their home wasn’t.

With every phone call, they spoke of continued progress of cleaning out, discarding, separating the KEEP from the GIVE AWAY. As they took on one room at a time, they had a renewed sense of the beauty of their home and how deep-cleaning and discarding had transformed and enhanced their once-crowded living space. Much like the state of North Carolina, the Dobbs’ home reflected the results of care and cleanliness.

I have heard some try to quote a saying from the Bible that isn’t in the Bible — “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” However, the Bible has a lot to say about “clean hands and a pure heart,” an invitation to “be washed and be whiter than snow,” to “remove the evil.”

The Pharisees were all about the outward appearance and impressing others with what they said, how they prayed and how they looked. Some might credit them for their efforts, but Jesus didn’t. He pointed out their blindness and affirmed that the inside must be clean first.

We probably all agree that cleanliness is attractive and space is a welcomed accommodation. When I consider the two, I want the thought to remind me of how my heart needs to stay emptied of sin so the Holy Spirit will have ample room to fill it.

Letters to Camille Anding may be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602.