How Clean Are Your Windows (or Your Soul)?
A recurring tale shared on social media goes something like this:
In a neighborhood, the woman of the household habitually comments to her husband about their neighbors’ state of affairs. As time goes by, she makes derogatory comments about the dirty windows of one neighbor and the less than clean laundry on the clothes line of another. Her critiques of the housekeeping skills of others are consistent fare to her long-suffering mate. One day after washing her own windows she finds out that the dirt she was seeing was her own, not that of her neighbors.
How often does rash judgment concerning others jump into our own minds? Do we clearly see our need to clean up our own lives? Or is the lens through which we see others, covered in grime? Unfortunately, we are often in need of a thorough housecleaning of our own. The reflection of our own shortcomings becomes a shadow on our neighbors.
Clean the Inside as Well as the Outside
In Matthew 23:23-26 we are admonished:
“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites.
You cleanse the outside of cup and dish,
but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence.
Blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup,
so that the outside also may be clean.”
What we present to others is often not a true reflection of our inner selves. Like the Pharisees, we make certain that our outer image is pristine. The public face we put on is the best of who we hope to be. Think about the perfect life portrayed on social media. Most people don’t share their flaws or when there is discord. Our best side, our perfectly posed and adorable kids, the puppy peacefully napping, and a kitchen triumph – these are the things we are quick to share. Contrast this to the inner secrets and grime that is hidden from view. Perhaps we aren’t so squeaky clean after all. Unless we hope it goes viral we don’t share our bed head hair, ever squabbling siblings, puppy puddles, or burnt toast. Those are not how we prefer to put forth our lives to the public.
While it isn’t necessary to completely bare our souls for public view, a virtuous habit to form would be to remain aware of our own weaknesses. In turn, this will open us up to understand those less than stellar moments of others. As Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”. In other words, our own judgment will be measured by the same stick with which we judge others.
Present a Purely Clean View to Others
If, as it has been said, our eyes are the windows of the soul, let our lens be transparent and pure. When someone looks into our faces, let the reflection of Christ’s love be there for them to see. As He has loved us, so let us love one another.
If we all make an effort to honestly present ourselves, the scales will fall off of our eyes and we will be able to clearly see ourselves, as well as others, like God sees us: His creatures, loved by Him – faults and all – yet always trying to do His will.