Degrees of Filthiness

(Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, on a bumpy 7 hour drive from Vijayawada to Vizaq)  The first thing people notice when they come to India is the filth.  People keep themselves and their homes very clean, but public property, streets and every space that isn’t someone’s home gets cluttered full of trash.  Streets are swept and hosed down every night, but the dirt accumulates and grows.  It’s something you never get used to seeing, and tends to color a person’s whole opinion of India and Indians – and how could it not?  They see it but they don’t do anything about it.  After a home is constructed the left-over building supplies are piled against a wall and half in the street where they are left for years, until someone takes them for their building project.  Dumpsters are overflowing with trash knee deep for many yards around them.  Cattle and poor people compete as they go through it all looking for anything to salvage or eat.  The filth is incomprehensible and we look down on them for not noticing it and doing something about it.

            Having said that, put yourself in the place of an India Christian who comes to the United States. He’d be impressed by our cleanliness, or would he?  He wouldn’t see much dirt anywhere, but what about the moral filthiness everywhere, which is totally absent in India?  What about the bill boards, female dress, movies, TV programs, books and magazines?  We get so used to these we don’t seem to notice, any more than he notices the dirt on the sidewalks around him.  We, like him, grow up with these things and so take them for granted, “That’s just the way things are!”

            But is our moral filth any better than his physical filth?  If we are offended by physical dirt, shouldn’t we as Christians be just as offended by moral dirt?  God reminds me of this every time I start to look down on this culture for not being as clean as mine.  And when God looks at them both I bet He is more offended by our moral filth than their physical filth.  Ask God to make you aware of it so you can clean up your own home, life and mind! 

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