Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. Matthew 23:7-8 (The Message)
When husband and I began making plans for our house in 1984, we bought plans from Southern Living magazine for a house called, “Creole Cottage.” With the help of a draftsman, we revised those plans to fit our community’s building permits. Over time, we changed curtains, paint and tile, but it was not until a few years ago, that we began to seriously consider interior decorating. Husband and one of his friends painstakingly put wood laminate flooring throughout the downstairs including our large dining room/living room combination and hall. They labored for weeks and weeks every evening after work until the floor gleamed and completely changed the look of the room. In 2010, we repainted that area using a new color scheme and added chair rail molding. That, too, took hours of work on evenings and weekends. With additional changes to the upstairs including paint, carpet, and new furniture, we felt like the house was ready for the next 25 years of our life in it. Sure, the kitchen cabinets were getting a little worn, the bedroom carpet has dog stains on it, and husband dearly wants a soaking tub in the bathroom, but all in all, we were really proud of the results of our labor and happy to entertain guests. Not anymore. At least for a while. The insurance adjuster finally arrived with his little electronic moisture meter that showed water throughout the house, under the laminate floor, in the baseboards and two feet up the drywall. Within an hour, a water removal company arrived and proceeded to tear up our lovely laminate floor with crowbars throwing the boards we had so carefully laid in pieces in the back of a truck. They removed the baseboards, cut holes in the wall and tore into the beautiful mint green paint, pulled up the bedroom carpet and left fans blowing air through the walls and throughout the house. It is like being in a wind tunnel. I cried to see that flooring go as I remembered all husband’s work, but as the concrete was exposed, so was the smell of mold and I knew it had to be done. And so, we are back at the beginning again with stripped floors, no baseboards and walls that need to be repainted. It looks like I will get new bedroom carpet and those cabinets refinished as well. The only thing we are missing is the soaking tub. Still, I am sad at the loss of time and memories. It made me think about how hard we had worked to make our house beautiful and yet, underneath that beauty grew deadly mold. How often we do that in life. Trying to impress the world with our outside yet there is so much ugliness inside. Thankfully, like the water removal company, Jesus came to clean up our heart and make us new and shining inside. It doesn’t come easy and sometimes the choices are hard, but in the end, what’s inside is what counts.