“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will be clean.” Matthew 23: 25 NIV
Several years ago my daughter and her husband lived Near Timmins, Ontario in a town with the unlikely name of South Porcupine. Near their home in South Porcupine was Lake Porcupine a lovely water lily covered that little lake that made for inviting walks.
Lady was a beloved fur-person who shared my daughter’s home and she made a good excuse for many enjoyable walks around the lake. One late summer, I had the privilege of visiting in their home, and thus the privilege of taking Lady for walks. It was a lovely time.
Alas, one evening – as the whole family was following Lady around the lake – Lady suddenly sped off into the brush and before we knew it the unmistakable odor of skunk came wafting through the air. Actually, it didn’t just waft; it came with the speed and impact of a freight train!
Now it was bath and tomato juice time so home we hurried to begin the process of making Lady and ourselves socially acceptable. After a few hours, much water, tomato juice and soap we thought we had gained the upper hand in losing the results of ‘eau de skunk’.
That is until …
The next morning we were all dressed up in our best clothes sitting in church, when suddenly I began to sniff. Sniff, sniff, sniff – could it be? Yes, it definitely was – the unmistakable odor of skunk. I looked at my son-in-law and sniffed in his direction, as he was looking at me and sniffing in my direction. We began to smell our hands; our clothes and we even pulled off our glasses and sniffed them. Well, believe it or not – the glasses were the culprits. While we were scrubbing ourselves we hadn’t thought to scrub our glasses and the remnants of our encounter with that polecat was starting to reveal itself in the warm church. As soon as possible we made our way to the nearest source of soap and water but the incident has made me think.
Jesus reminded us in Matthew 23 that it isn’t enough to wash the outside – we have to get clean on the inside, too. In verse 27 he said, “…. You are like white-washed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones… In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.”
Isn’t it better if it could be said of us, “And he said, ‘these are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’”. Revelation 7:14
Next time you encounter a skunk, be sure you are COMPLETELY clean.