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Is Your Room Clean?

Is Your Room Clean?

“Does the Bible say we should keep our rooms clean?” my twelve-year-old granddaughter asked. Sofia puckered her brows. The question shone from big blue eyes. Her long blonde hair framed pink tinted porcelain cheeks.

Her question fell like a tinny clank of metal hitting against my conscience. It niggled inside. I wondered if I’d fudged truth to manipulate a spotless room.

I leaned against the pillows of my youngest granddaughter’s bed. Three pajama clad little girls snuggled against me, fine hair in varying shades of blonde spread across my shoulder and chest. I treasured our prolonged before-bed discussions. I looked around with satisfaction at the books in place, the clothes hanging in the closet and the under-the-bed emptiness. I inhaled an uncluttered deep breath.

But Sofia’s question made me uneasy. I’d worked hard so I could gift my power-chair-bound daughter with a clean house. Had I overdone it? I’d tried to scrub away the wrongs of inconsistent help and of living four states away. My own sorrow over her condition burned inside of me and I desired to re-instill order to what I perceived as pandemonium.

Had I equated in those little minds a clean bedroom with goodness? Reels of is-your-room-clean-yet-battles with my own children replayed in my mind. Did my zeal import a proper work ethic or did it convey false values? Is cleanliness really next to godliness?

If you have wondered where to draw the lines between chaotic and antiseptic, here are some questions to help you make decisions that are right for your family.

-Do cleanliness standards you’ve set allow for age appropriate play? Are there places to put away toys or display them properly? Is order required consistent with your child’s capabilities?

-Do expectations encourage ownership? Am I helping create a safe place that expresses my child’s personality, incorporating unique likes and dislikes? Are they learning respect for property, appreciation and care of possessions?

-Am I helping to develop a sense of responsibility? Do I work alongside to form habits that will serve as disciplined foundations for all areas of life?

Sofia’s question troubled me because it wasn’t really about the endless job of cleaning, it had to do with the heart, and with my agenda confusing that in their minds. A clean heart is far more important than a clean room.

The crux of God’s laws and references concerning clean and unclean bridge to God’s holiness not our fastidiousness. A deeper underlying lesson is that of a Holy God who wants us to cleanse our hearts so we can fellowship with Him.

King David prayed in Psalm 51:10. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (ESV).

And so, after I turned off the light, brought the last drink of water, and sent the last granddaughter to the bathroom, I considered some heart issues that outweigh the system.

  1. Obedience.
  2. Motive.
  3. Purpose.

There are times when the question boils down to obedience. Parental obedience is an essential step in learning to obey God. Obeying father and mother fulfills a biblical command. A heart motivated by love makes the job a delight. Overall purpose is discipleship not picking up Legos.

Show pleasure in a job well done. Reward with your appreciation. Make accomplishment a prized goal.

“Is your room clean?” is just a piece of a journey. A clean heart is the destination.

By: Sylvia Schroeder serves as Women’s Care Coordinator at Avant Ministries. She and her husband raised four children in Italy and Germany, where they were missionaries with Avant. Their children are all married and they have twelve grandchildren. Visit her blog, When the House is Quiet, at sylviaschroeder.com.

Join us at www.just18summers.com for our parenting blog each Monday-Friday and for info about the Just 18 Summers novel.

2 Comments

  1. “I’d worked hard so I could gift my power-chair-bound daughter with a clean house Had I overdone it?” I hear your heart and feel your pain!

    I love God’s faithfulness in giving you such wisdom for the situation. I especially love this: “A heart motivated by love makes the job a delight.”

  2. I can still hear my dad quote those very words; ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’ Thanks for your reminder, Syl that it’s about ‘how’ we do cleanliness. I know I felt with my younger days, being ‘clean’ was to important. When your children start their own homes and families and you see the actions that ‘you’ did… what an eye opener!! Praise the LORD for His mercy and forgiveness…our children’s as well. Happy cleaning! 🙂

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