The soul needs more than whitewashing

By Judy Brandon

Summer reminds me of the days spent with our cousins who lived on a farm in eastern Oklahoma. Susie and I always looked forward to visiting there because it was just like going to a place that was hidden from the world. Our cousins always had so many great things to do.
Swimming in the pond connected to a winding creek was something we relished. It was a little patch of water not deep and it was located about a quarter of a mile from the house. Clear water made it easy to see the big rocks at the bottom and we spent many days just playing and splashing away.
But one of the best times I remember involved a paint job. My uncle told us that he had a project for us. There had been an old chicken house on the farm, and since our last visit, our uncle had repaired it and wondered if we would like to paint it.
We thought painting sounded like fun. With pails and white paint, we five girls, all under the age of 11, set out to paint the chicken coop. We all put great effort into the project and soon realized that with the effect of the white paint, old lumber blended in with new replaced boards as we painted the old chicken house white. Aged boards that once bore the marks of days before soon took on a new and fresh look.
After the first day, our clothes were covered with paint and there was even paint in our hair. After two days, we finished. The old chicken coop looked amazingly different. On the outside, the once old-looking chicken structure looked brand new, clean and impressive.
One of our jobs on the farm was to gather the eggs. Even though the old house looked new on the outside, we soon realized it was the same on the inside.
The next morning, we went in to gather eggs. We had to watch where we stepped in the old chicken coop, wary of old bull snakes that sometimes crawled around the chicken nests and robbed the eggs and watchful of the old hens that sat on the eggs and sharply peck our hands when we tried to flutter them away to gather the eggs.
No matter how the outside looked, the inside was the same old chicken coop. Any spiritual connection?
Sometimes we may think we can fool God because on the outside, we might be able to fool people. We may dress in our self-righteous robes and look exalted and in our sanctimony, appearing clean and spotless on the outside. We may play the game of looking and acting great and consequently fool everyone around us.
Yet, only God knows what is in the heart. A whitewashed job on the outside by cleaning up our act just does not impress God. What that old chicken house needed was a thorough cleaning inside to match the outside. That’s what God does to a person when He comes into his or her life. He cleans from the inside out and gives each of His children a new nature.
Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: cbrandon@plateautel.net