Okay, I realize I’m going to age myself with this. And I run the risk that some who reads this will likely not have any idea what I’m really talking about, but I remember as a kid my mom hanging the laundry out on a clothes line in the back yard to dry, with clothes pins, and stuff flapping in the wind… the whole bit. I know! I know! Some of you are thinking, “How old are you?” “You mean a clothes dryer hadn’t even been invented yet?” Yup! Clothes line… back yard… and all your underwear hanging out in the yard for all the neighbors to see! It was humiliating, especially for a young 9-10 year old pre-pubescent boy! Really, mom! You’re going to put my underwear where?
You’ve heard the line, “Airing your dirty laundry?” Well, in this case it was clean now, but still… how embarrassing! Airing your skivvies for all to see! Who does that? Only everybody back then, and maybe too many people today. It seems like lately Christians and the church just can’t help themselves and keep from airing out our dirty laundry, and even putting it out on display for all the world to see on the world’s proverbial clothes line. Every time one Christian leader disagrees with another Christian leader or Christians can’t agree, or we get grumbely within Christian ranks seems we want to post it, pin it, tweet it, “insta” it on the worlds social media platform so they can see just how petty, and small, and disagreeable, and sanctimonious, and “judgy” Christians can be. Or we want to post, tweet, “insta-publicize” our angst with the church before a watching, longing, hurting world who doesn’t understand. Not long ago two of my favorites, Dr. John MacArthur and Beth Moore got in a squabble, and if that wasn’t bad enough, they had to take it public on social media so that the lost world could smugly shake their head and smirk, “Those silly Christian can’t even get along with each other, how do they expect us to get along with them… and why would I want too?” I love both of these two godly Christian leaders, and have appreciated their ministries for years, but really, must we as Christians constantly be lowering our estimation in the worlds eyes, diminishing our witness by constantly airing our dirty laundry before a watching world.
Along comes “Christianity Today,” a popular Christian publication for years, and they have to wade into the political arena with their opinion on the very politically charged and partisan behavior of some in Washington, and attack and besmirch the character and integrity of thousands of Christians around the county, airing out their attack on Christians for all the world to see…. airing dirty laundry. Hundreds of Christian pastors sign a letter to “Christianity Today” condemning their words and attacks and it all gets tweeted and retweeted, posted and reposted, and editorialized and re-editorialized… and the lost world smugly shakes their head and smirks, “Those silly Christian can’t even get along with each other, how do they expect us to get along with them… and why would I want too?” Those are just two of the more current examples. And lest you think those examples seem far removed from us, I even see pastors I love… believers I admire and love airing out stuff from within Christian circles, airing their frustrations or disillusionment, or putting the guts of the church out there for those to read who we are still trying to witness to and reach for Jesus.
I’m not suggesting that as Christians and the church that we sweep our mistakes and disagreements and squabbles under the rug, or live in “pretend-land” like we never make any mistake or have disagreements. The reality is we do, and they must be dealt with Biblically and with grace and mercy… redemptively, but within the body of Christ not without, and not in the world, on the worlds clothesline airing our dirty laundry for a lost and watching world to see, who don’t perceive spiritual things, and who are susceptible to the enemies attempts to discredit Christ, Christians and His church. I think a better model for us would be Paul’s inspired words in Philippians 2:1-4, “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”
Isn’t it time for us to take the laundry off the line, fold it up and put it away, and get on with what God has called us to do as His people. Let’s stop airing out our dirty laundry. It is such a turn-off to the world and to the cause of Christ. And let’s get busy telling others about the good news of Jesus Christ, who washes our dirty laundry clean and makes all things new, who offers hope for our brokenness and lost-ness, and brings meaning and purpose and abundant life. Blessings in the New Year, Bro. Buddy