Early this week, my three-year old daughter Maddie used a four-letter word I never want to hear again. 'Daddy, Mommy says Alyssa has LICE.' Little did I know in that moment the dramatic effect this small word, and creature, would have on my life.
I have never had lice. My perception was that if you get it, you buy some special shampoo, wash your hair, and move on with life. Not so. Evidently lice is a significant problem that can spread like a plague. It's as catchy as a Justin Bieber lyric. We have spent the last 48 hours in a frenzy of washing, vacuuming, shampooing, cleaning, rinsing, and repeating. Over and over and over. Alyssa has spent countless hours sitting at the counter while Michelle diligently combs through ever square millimeter of her head. These days have been grueling.
It's amazing what happens to you when you see pictures of this little critter and read about how easily it can spread. Something inside your head clicks into high gear, because your once safe dwelling place now feels invaded, corrupted, and defiled. Even though we cannot typically see the foe we are fighting, we are taking extreme measures in our home to make sure it is out of our lives for good. Or at least before Maddie contracts it.
This whole experience has me thinking about what the Jewish people used to do in preparation for the Passover. Part of their tradition was to scour their homes, looking for even the smallest trace or crumb of leavened bread. Days of preparation would be spent in painstaking detail, so that when the Passover came, the family could celebrate appropriately. You see, the idea was to be pure and holy for the Passover, and leaven was a picture of sin or unholiness. So as a way of purifying themselves, the Jews also purified their houses. They went to extreme measures to make themselves fit to worship God.
In light of all this, I am reflecting today on our personal attitude towards impurity in our lives. Put more succinctly, I wonder if we take extreme measures with sin anymore. I have been petrified by the thought of even one minuscule lice bug remaining in my home, so I have rearranged my life in order to "be clean." The ironic twist, to me, is that this little bug has little ultimate impact on my physical well-being. I am healthy. I am fit. I am not sick, or weak, or in pain because of lice. But it disgusts me and I want it gone. I wish I had this same disgust for sin. More importantly, I wish you did. Because isn't that the truth- that we would all like others to be really passionate about getting sin out of their lives? We'd like others to take extreme measures to let go of their pride, selfishness, envy, gossip, deceit or anger? The real question, though, is for ourselves. Will we develop an attitude that says, "I will do whatever it takes to make my life clean and pure. I will not put up with any life-stealing bug (sin) for even a moment."
Because you are a house. You are the dwelling place of the living God. And I think His Presence merits our taking the time, taking extreme measures, to keep His house clean. Go get the shampoo of confession. The laundry detergent of God's Word. The vacuum of diligence, perseverance, and discipline. Do whatever it takes- just get the bugs out of your life. His house, your life, is worth extreme measures.
Journeying with you-