Dealing with Dirty Dishes
by Zack Howard
When dishes get dirty, they have to be dealt with. If we don’t deal with dirty dishes, then the grime on them tends to stick, and it becomes harder to deal with. However, dirty dishes are always cleanable—even it takes some elbow grease. But how do we deal with our spiritual dirty dishes that Jesus talks about in Matthew 23.25-26? The passage reads:
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.”
The dirty dishes that Jesus talks about here equate to hypocrisy. Jesus is directing his thoughts towards the Pharisees and Scribes and their attitude they hold towards public praise. In his discourse to them, he tells them the problem of hypocrisy—it stops us from dealing with the uncleanliness in our lives.
Hypocrisy hides our sins and temptations, and magnifies our good. It gives off the appearance of holiness and righteousness, yet doesn’t deal with our sin. When we don’t deal with the dirt on our dishes, then it corrupts the rest of the dish. Likewise, when we don’t deal with the sin in our lives, it corrupts the rest of our actions. If I don’t deal with my anger, then it will begin to creep into how I talk to one another, how I act towards someone—and eventually the fake image I am showing off to the world will become harder to keep up because of my anger. If I don’t deal with my greed, then my desire for money or power will affect all of my actions, and change who I am. My dirty dishes will taint the rest of my life.
However, there is a way to fix the dirty dishes. Jesus tells the Pharisees and Scribes to clean the inward parts of the cup and plate, and the outside will be clean. If we are willing to see the dirtiness in our lives, and not hide it in order to maintain an appearance for the public, then we are able to begin the cleaning that needs to happen. When we clean the dirtiness, we admit a need for God in our lives, and that we have messed up. Cleaning the dirt off our dishes means we change our hearts to seek God’s approval, instead of man’s. It means truly living as Christ expects us too, instead of putting up a facade for others. It means learning what he expects of me, and following it completely, not just going through the motions.
Dealing with the dirty dishes of hypocrisy won’t always be easy. However, if our aim is to be a complete disciple of Christ, then we will clean the dirtiness off, and live as Christ expects us to.