God can see right through religious facades

By Judy Brandon

My sister Susie from Minnesota is in Clovis visiting us this week. The other day we were talking about some of our experiences as kids. One of the things we talked about was visiting our cousins, who lived on a farm in eastern Oklahoma.

One of the best times we remember at our cousins’ house was one summer that involved a paint job. There had been an old chicken house on the farm, and since our last visit our uncle had repaired it and wondered if we would like to paint it.

We all thought painting sounded like fun. With pails and white paint, we five little girls, all under the age of 11 set out to paint the chicken coop. With great effort we brushed the paint on and soon aged boards that once bore the marks of days before soon took on a new and fresh look.

After two days, we finished. The old chicken coop looked amazingly different. On the outside, it looked brand new, clean and impressive. But the inside was a different story.

The next morning we went in to gather eggs. Still, we had to watch where we stepped in the old chicken coop. Still, we had to be wary of bull snakes that sometimes crawled around the chicken nests and robbed the eggs. Still, we had to be on the alert that the old hens that sat on the eggs would not peck our hands when we tried to gather the eggs.

Still, there were flies in the old chicken shack, and it was still dim and stinky.

No matter how the outside looked, the inside was the same old chicken coop. Any spiritual connection?

Sometimes we may think we can fool God because on the outside, we might be able to fool people. We may dress in our self-righteous robes and in our sanctimony, appear clean and spotless on the outside. We may play the spiritual game and consequently fool everyone around us.

But only God knows what is in the heart. A whitewashed job on the outside by cleaning up our act just does not impress God at all. What that old chicken house needed was a thorough cleaning inside to match the outside.

That’s what God does to a person when he comes into her life. He cleans us from the inside out and gives each of his children a new nature.

I suppose that old chicken coop would not have been the same if it had been spotless and clean on the inside. But what difference did it make? They were just chickens. What did they know?

Judy Brandon is an instructor at Clovis Community College. Contact her at: