I always like to start with something personal, so please bear it with me!
I didn’t grow up in a messy home. I was brought up in a “normal” happy family of four people and our neighbors envied us for having a beautiful and always-neat-and-tidy home. It was all because of my dad, who was a control freak when it came to cleaning –don’t tell him I said that – and he used to assign us cleaning tasks when we were around 8 or 9 years old; vacuuming, dusting, sorting laundry, ironing and doing dishes… and he was always there micromanaging. I won’t say it was a bad thing. However, when it comes to my aunt, my father’s sister, I can’t say the same thing about her. She is the messiest person I’ve ever known. You wouldn’t guess that at all if you saw her outside. She does her makeup every day and always dresses up nicely.
Five years ago, if you’d seen her house, you would have freaked out. There were always piles of books or vegetables on the kitchen’s floor, piles of laundry on the bed and you wouldn’t have found one single empty table or desk. She’s this kind of person who would leave plates in the sink for weeks until they look like some science experiment gone wrong and if she drops something on the floor, it will stay right there unless she needs it. She doesn’t gather the garbage properly because she doesn’t want to “disturb” the germs that might fly off and stick to her face. Her bedroom looks like a party room for pigs and don’t get me started on her bathroom.
She’s been living like this for her whole life until the pastor came to her house one day. I think it took him years to recover from that trauma, but at least he was able to confront my aunt about her messy house.
I still remember what he said, “You are a child of God. The Holy Spirit resides in you and wherever you go, you carry Him with you. And, so you cannot make the Holy Spirit live in this garbage bag.”
A Good Atmosphere
“…as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
– From Joshua 24: 15
Today, there’s this terrible perspective that exists and to which many are turning to – as long as your house’s messiness isn’t exposing anyone to sickness, it is no one’s business but your own.
Housecleaning is not my strong suit. Like many, even I struggle to keep the floors clean all the time. But, that’s not a reason enough to not put laundry in a designated place when it is dirty or to leave dishes in the sink after you finish eating a meal. The more you procrastinate about doing these tasks that you don’t find appealing, the worse impact will be felt on both your physical and mental health.
That doesn’t come from a Biblical perspective, but from scientific studies that have proven that a clean and neat home can make you happy, inspired and relaxed while a messy and unclean one can make you feel anxious, sad and discouraged. As Christians, we are called to always rejoice in the Lord and to be peaceful. Several Biblical scriptures tell us not to walk, sit or go in unholy or ungodly places. And, if we go as per the first article, “cleanliness is next to godliness.”
It has to be understood that for a Christian, a home is not only a place where you live. It is the center and heart of the world of God’s children. As such, it demands a clean and neat atmosphere.