Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Cleaning House

Two days after we got settled in here in this new 'house', we were awakened way-too-early on Sunday morning to the ear-piercing sounds of sirens. It took five to get us to take notice, mainly because our bedroom window in Germany overlooked a VERY busy highway, and we had sirens blaring at all hours of the day and night, so we'd kind of gotten used to it. However, that night this June was different. The sirens were closer...and as our sleepy eyes finally opened, we realized that our bedroom was aglow with red and blue lights flashing WAY too close. It took approximately two minutes for Pete to be dressed and out the door, partly wanting to assist if he was needed, and partly because, well, he was just plain nosy. The fire that had brought about all of the midnight hubub was quickly extinguished, but the adrenaline running through our systems at that point after having a house fire just two doors down was a BIT too much to allow us to just go back to sleep. The next day, we found out that the fire had been caused by a homemade methamphetamine lab. Welcome to the neighborhood!

Today, four months later, the cleanup crew was finally allowed to start "gutting" the house. Military housing is in high demand, and they really needed to get things wrapped up now that the investigations are over and the family is completely moved out (one spouse to jail, one to divorce court, and the children to foster care, unfortunately), so they brought in the professionals. You know, it's almost comical to watch. The fire was relatively small--it was isolated to the kitchen and it didn't spread past a few cabinets. However, this crew is quite literally ripping everything out of the house that they can possibly take out--cabinets, appliances, carpet--everything. They left no trace of the corruption that overtook the family that lived there previously. The family that will move in when they finish will not have meth-tainted walls, carpets, or air conditioning filters. Their air, their environment, their home will be clean.

Isn't this what we should do with our lives, to completely rid ourselves of sin and allow the purification of God to cleanse us entirely? What good would the blood of Christ do if we refused to let go of the sin that we were enslaved to? It seems so simple. We wouldn't want to live in a house where some atrocity had taken place. No one wants to move in where a murder has been committed. We fully understand this in physical terms, but in spiritual? It's not so easy, and it's a wonderful tool Satan has, that apathy toward the toxicity of sin that we want to hold on to. But why would the Holy Spirit want to move into a heart tainted by sin? When we are buried with Christ in baptism, raised to walk in newness of life, what of the chains we drag behind us? Do we fully let go of them, leaving every trace of sin behind us, or do we hold on "just a little", thinking that it can't hurt us *too* bad, as long as we aren't actually taking part in sinful behavior? Surely we can keep our friends...surely we don't have to change ALL of our habits, make new friends, and leave behind everything that even remotely resembled our former life of sin?

God forbid.

This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk , in the vanity of their mind, having the understanding darkened , being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry , and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour , working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers . And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: and be ye kind one to another , tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:17-32

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