Vol.VII No.XII Pg.4
February 1971

White Washin

Jim R. Everett

The old chicken coop didnt last long between white-washins — one was hardly finished and it was time for another. It always looked so clean after each job that it was hard to imagine that those gathering eggs were met with such a stench. No matter how much white-wash you put on, it didnt seem to improve the smell on the inside of the coop.

After awhile the filth got so bad that someone (never me) would suggest that it was time to clean and disinfect the inside. It sure smelled a lot better after that. But believe me when I say that its much more pleasant to white-wash two chicken coops than to clean out one.

Of course, white-washin is nothing new. The Pharisees garnished the tombs of the fathers to make them appear beautiful but there were dead mens bones inside. They meticulously cleansed the outside of the cup and platter but this did not remove the inside stains (Matt. 23:24—27). Our Lord was not condemning the whitewashing of sepulchers nor was he teaching a lesson here on how to wash dishes. He said, Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity, Matt. 23:28), and they understood that he spoke of outward religion (white-washin) as opposed to inner cleanliness of heart.

It is never easy to cleanse ones heart of sin but sometimes the smell becomes so odious that we can no longer cover it up. The more David white-washed to cover his sin, the more sin there was to cover — first adultery then deception and finally murder. Admitting his sin was humiliating and painful, but far better this than plunging white- washed into eternity where the paint job peels.

Pity poor Saul. God said for Saul to utterly destroy the Amalekites, but Saul and the people spared Agag, the best of the sheep, oxen, and all that was good. Saul said to Samuel, I have performed the commandment of Jehovah, (1 Sam. 15:13b), but his paint began to run when the oxen lowed in Samuels ears. He thought he could blame the people but Samuel applied Gods paint remover — to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. (v.22)

Many souls today are filled with extortion, excess, murder theft, adultery, etc., and each new day demands more self-justification, excuses, and rationaliz- ations to hide the sins — at least from ones own eyes But there is not enough white-wash in the world to cover ONE sin. The only hope for the cleansing from sin is through the blood of Christ (Matt. 26:28; 1 Jno. 1:7). It was not easy for him to die on the cross and it may not be easy for Christians to repent and confess sins, but thats what it takes to cleanse the inside (1 Jno. 1:9; Acts 8:22).

The cleansed conscience and restored relationship are much better than self-justification. I liked the clean chicken coop much better than the white-washed one too — after it was all over.