I suppose what made me this way was being a young pastor years ago who was constantly in and out of hospitals every day before coming home to a wife and three small children. I decided early on to do my best not to bring home any more germs than was absolutely necessary, so as not to unduly expose them to sickness.
Thus, thorough handwashing and other such habits were instilled within me early on in my ministry; and I have kept them up ever since.
It was only natural, therefore, that I would be intrigued when I saw that Foxnews.com carried an article this morning by Lauren Sieben of Realtor.com, titled “7 Cleaning Tips That Every Germaphobe Needs To Know”.
I perused the article, which led me to the original source at Realtor.com titled “Our (Easy!) 7-Step House Cleaning Plan for the Germaphobe Inside Us All” by Lauren Sieben dated Nov 27, 2018.
Reading that article led me to another one by Stephanie Booth from Feb 12, 2018 titled “7 Things in Your House That Are Dirtier Than Your Toilet”. This one really got my attention!
Ms. Booth begins the article with these attention getting words:
“You wouldn't dare drink out of your toilet, but surprisingly, it's not the grossest spot in your house. After all, it gets regularly disinfected (we certainly hope). Yep, that's right - there are potentially bigger, more disgusting threats to your health scattered throughout your home. And we've got more bad news for you: You've probably already touched a few today. So grab a Costco-sized bottle of hand sanitizer before you read on - and clear your schedule. You've got some new cleaning chores coming up.”
She then dutifully lists the seven items in our own homes that qualify:
1. Our carpets. (We learn that these hold approximately 200,000 bacteria per square inch, including the infamous E. coli bacteria tracked in on the bottom of our shoes form public restrooms.)
2. Our kitchen sinks. (This is what she calls the "Grand Central Station" of germs, due largely to our kitchen sponges, a single cubic centimeter of which may be packed with as much bacteria as there are people on Earth - multiplied seven times!)
3. Our doorknobs. (Citing research from two prominent state universities, she asserts first, that only 5% of people who use the bathroom wash their hands thoroughly and long enough to kill germs that can cause illness, and second, that the bacteria from just one infected doorknob could travel to as many as 60% of the people in an average office in under four hours.)
4. Our coffee makers. (We discover that irrespective of coffee’s purported antibacterial properties, the water reservoir and piping system are prime spots for bacteria to grow in since they are so often damp and dark.)
5. Our bath towels. (This one takes the cake. Citing further university research, we are told that nearly 90% of the towels that we use to dry our hands or body after a shower could be contaminated with coliform bacteria, which is found in, yes, fecal matter!)
6. Our shower curtains. (Not only is the “soap scum” that we see really a booming community of microorganisms, each time we flush, a plume of bacteria is released, and "it’s gotta go somewhere". Not to mention that black lining along the curtain… We likely have millions of mold spores near us every time we bathe!)
And the straw that breaks the camel’s back…
7. Our remote control(s). (Just like in a hospital or hotel room, our remote controls are “all kinds of nasty”, including such things as grimy hands, Cheetos dust, baby drool, etc…)
Had enough? So had I! Thankfully, therefore, Ms. Booth does not leave us destitute and hopeless. In each instance, she provides an appropriate way to clean the item or items in question. And in the end, this really is the purpose of the article – not just to convince us that we are filthy and in danger within our own homes, but to show us that we can be clean and healthy and happy therein!
As I read these articles – especially the last one, I could not help but be reminded of our predicament as human beings. Think about it. We might like to think that we are clean; but we really are not. For years, I prided myself on not bringing germs into my home by my own personal attempts at cleanliness. And yet, as these article make plain, all my efforts were for naught. My home has been fraught with germs all along!
The same thing applies to my spiritual life. Try as I might, my own endeavors to justify myself, my own personal attempts to make myself clean and righteous, no matter how sincere and intentional they might be, can never make me truly so in God’s eyes.
What I needed was for someone to point that truth out to me - to show me that, under the all-penetrating and all-exposing light of God’s truth, my own righteousness is shown for what it is. As the Old Testament Prophet, Isaiah, tells us (chapter 64, verse 6): “all our righteousness is as filthy rags” before God!
But the wonderful thing about God is that He does not leave us destitute and hopeless! Yes, he points out our problem. But He goes far beyond this, and shows us how we can indeed be made clean! The Apostle John puts it this way in his First New Testament Epistle (chapter 1, verse 9): “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
And there you have it! While it may be disconcerting to realize just how filthy our homes are, it is wonderful to have an expert tell us how our homes can receive a legitimate and thorough cleansing. Far more significantly, to be told that our own righteousness is as filthy rage before a truly righteous and holy God may be distressing. But to then be told by that same God that He has provided a way for us to be thoroughly cleansed and gloriously restored to Him is comforting beyond words!
For my part, I’m thrilled to know that in spite of the newly exposed filthiness within my own dwelling, I now have hope for a detailed and thorough cleansing. Maybe you share that feeling in light of the above referenced articles. More to the point, if you have come to see your own righteousness for what it is, as filthy rags before a blameless, holy, and righteous God, then I hope you are relieved to know that this God loves you and has made provision for your cleansing and restoration through His one and only son, Jesus Christ.
If so, then I urge you to join with the Psalmist (Psalm 51, verses 1-8) who once prayed:
1Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.
3For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.
7Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8Let me hear joy and gladness...
Take it from a germaphobe, there is nothing like a thorough house cleaning! Except of course, a thorough heart cleansing!
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