Cosmetic Damage

My son Ezekiel hit a raccoon coming home from work the other night. According to him the raccoon had a death wish and would not get out of the road no matter how he slowed the car. Regardless of why it happened, the car had some damage to the right front fender. According to some who initially looked at it it was just "cosmetic damage", meaning it wouldn't necessarily mess with the car's functioning, but it looked bad. So when Ezekiel and I took it in to the repair shop we asked them to dig a little deeper just to make sure it truly was just "cosmetic".


You see there are a lot of us who look good "cosmetically" speaking. We smile, we laugh, we hide those things we want no one to see. It might be hurt or bitterness. It might be sadness and pain. It might be sin and a double life. On the outside we look like we're doing great, but underneath there are some bigger issues that could hurt our spiritual "functioning".


Jesus described the scribes and Pharisees in this way, "You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every impurity." Jesus saw these religious leaders for what they were. They put on a great show of their piety. They prayed in the streets where all could see and made a show of their giving and acts of kindness. But Jesus knew at their heart there was nothing there. It was all an outward show.


We can find ourselves in the same place. We work hard to be kind, to make a show of our service, to compare ourselves to others, but underneath we know the truth. You see when you are a "whitewashed tomb" eventually what is underneath will make an appearance. Just like a car whose fender gets fixed and a few days later begins to shimmy and shake all over the road while engine lights start flashing.


Paul writes of this in 1 Corinthians 13:3, "If I donate all my goods to feed the poor, and if I give my body in order to boast but do not have love, I gain nothing." Earlier in the chapter he says that all of these acts are "a sounding gong or a clanging cymbal" without love.


And this "love" he speaks of is a person...Jesus Christ. He is the one who must live inside of us if we are to be more than "whitewashed tombs". In Galatians 2:20 states,


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."


You want to be more than "cosmetically" fine? Paul tells us it is only by putting to death self and living for Christ. Then you are no longer a "whitewashed tomb", you are the temple of the Holy Spirit. A life that is Jesus Christ to the core.


Doug


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Northwestern United Methodist Church

232 4th Ave. 

Mellette, SD 57461

605.887.3148

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