Uneven Paint Lines

Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus
S.M. and I aren’t wealthy people. Our home is middle class. Even our friends are middle class. The church we attend has a mix of poverty, middle class, and wealthy, like a patchwork quilt stitched together by Christ’s love.

When we walked into Lena’s house, I made sure to keep my mouth closed as it wanted to drop and gape at the high-end stuff, the pool in the back yard, and I kept thinking of my house–the house with the uneven paint lines. S.M. shook hands with Lena’s husband, and we began talking as if we were old friends.

Lena and her husband are very hospitable and as warm as the things that hung on her wall. Natural light graced the walls, enhancing the marrying of colors in the paintings, the furnishings, and the wall decorations. The food and the conversation moved without hesitation or the typical awkwardness that comes with meeting new people. It was the kind of house where you wanted to sink into one of the many sitting areas and get lost in a book. The house embraced visitors.

God works through people like them. Home is a concept that is alien to some people like my technological friend up on the mountain. I felt like God blessed this couple with the means to help people heal, and, as they told me about their ministry, I was grateful.

On the way home, being a woman and human, I began thinking of ways to fix the uneven paint lines, and how to make our home just as welcoming. After stepping into their home, I wanted to renovate our house.

Don’t you feel that way sometimes? You return from the perfect house and suddenly feel the need to watch Home and Garden and buy paint and new curtains as if that alone would fix the inadequacies you feel of being imperfect?

S.M. just wants a clean home. He declares war on the dust every week whereas I feel it’s a futile fight. You clean the dust and it returns like some unwanted house guest. I see the cracks in the tile, the faded paint, and the tears that Georgia left in the sheer curtains. I see how much cleaning needs to be done and wish I had a maid.

The people I invite over don’t see what I see, and if they do, I don’t think they care. Lena and her husband probably wouldn’t care either if they ever saw our imperfect house. It’s clean, but it could be cleaner and nicer. But maybe that’s like you and me?

25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. – Romans 3:25-26

We feel the need to add things to our belief just so we could feel better about accepting the gift of Christ’s love. Shouldn’t we have to do something in return for the gift at the cross, like do more nice things for other people, give more money, or serve, serve, serve? Wouldn’t that make us more deserving somehow of Christ’s love?

I am so inadequate, but so loved by Jesus. It’s an incredible feeling to accept the gift. This coming from someone who has trouble accepting gifts. As S.M. and I enter our house, I walk past a dust bunny and put a kettle of water on the heat.

It’s an hour from bed. The sky is clear. The stars are numerous. The neighborhood quiet. Georgia sits on a chair waiting for a treat. S.M. is changing into his sweats. I am still wearing my nice slacks and top with the tiny gold cross hanging from my neck.

This is what I look forward to–tea at the end of a day with the man I love.

Move over, dust bunny.

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