Monday, December 5, 2011
That I don't want to be a 'shudder-spoon'
This post was inspired by my dishwasher. I like that moment when the cycle has finished and I open the door to release a hot gush of steam and see all the shiny, sparkling dishes. But sometimes I have a shock when I'm unloading them.
Imagine that you're pulling all the cutlery out of its holder to put away in the drawer, and suddenly your thumb goes squelch into the middle of some sticky substance that could be old porridge, rice, stew, mashed potato or some other mystery. Whatever it is has turned a sort of greenish-grey in the bowl of the spoon and you can't help a ripple of horror up and down your spine because you're so grossed out. This is what I call a 'shudder-spoon.' I also get the occasional 'shudder-bowls' and 'shudder-cups'. On the outside, they look as sparkly as all the others and I fully expect them to be clean because they've just been through an intense washing cycle.
Jesus told some religion scholars and Pharisees, "You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisees! Scour the insides and then the gleaming surface will mean something." (Matthew 23: 25-26) Oh yeah, he's talking about 'shudder-cups' and 'shudder-bowls' here.
I imagined a story about angels looking at a group of human beings and saying, "These people have it all together. They're clean, attractive and the things they say to others are really nice. Wow, we're impressed." But when they get close enough to examine them in more detail, they recoil with shock because they didn't notice all the muck these human containers were concealing; the pride, jealousy, nastiness, bitterness, resentment and greed. I don't want to be a human shudder-spoon with the potential to make angels shudder.
Jesus told those Pharisees to scour the insides of their vessels, and he never tells us do anything we're incapable of. So how do we prevent ourselves from being 'shudder-spoons'? I believe we stay focused on him, and trust that he has put us through the most stringent washing-cycle through his death on the Cross. I used to be puzzled whenever I heard or read that 'the blood of Jesus washes us whiter than snow' before I understood that it's simply what he did for us and we just need to believe it.
Also, we can pounce on the thoughts that we know have the potential to make us dirty on the inside and scrub them straight away, before they have a chance to become baked-on attitudes. Just because something comes into our heads doesn't mean we have to own it. Although it doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand this, I'm amazed how often I still have to remind myself.
So stay clean, watch out for nasties and don't take it for granted that anything that looks spotless on the outside is necessarily clean all through.