The story is told of a young couple who moved into their first home. The next morning as they were eating breakfast, the wife glanced out the window and saw her neighbor hanging out clothes.
“Boy, that woman sure doesn’t know how to do laundry,” she said. “Those clothes are still dirty.”
For the next month, every time the neighbor hung out her wash, it was still dirty.
“Whatever she’s using for detergent, it’s not working,” the wife remarked. “Why would she keep on using it? There must be something wrong with her.”
Then one morning the wife looked up from her oatmeal and saw her neighbor’s line full of sparkling clean clothes.
“Wow, look at that!” she said to her husband. “She finally clued in. I wonder what happened?”
The husband looked at her and said quietly, “Last night I washed our windows.”
If the eyes are the windows of the soul, how we view things is affected by what’s on our windows.
Like looking through tinted glasses, our view of people and events is often colored. Our glasses may be rose-colored, allowing us to deny uncomfortable realities. We rationalize that our wrong attitudes and behaviors don’t need adjusting, that we’re no worse than anyone else, that hell doesn’t really exist. We rely more on wishful thinking than on prayer.
Some people see life through photo-gray glasses that automatically darken to filter out light. When faced with the incredible love of God and His power to transform our lives, we tone it down to a level more consistent with what we can explain or accept. Because His light seems too strong to us, we live in a kind of spiritual half-light, never really taking hold of a deep relationship with God because we don’t fully see Him. The filtered-out light makes it harder to understand His Word, so we don’t spend much time reading it. Our lives become as gray as our glasses.
Our glasses may be tinted green, so that we see everything through the light of envy. We want people to meet our needs, to follow our lead, and when that doesn’t happen we feel betrayed and angry. When we do manage to get our eyes off ourselves, we see God as there to make things better for us, to do things the way we think He should.
Some glasses are tinted blue. Life through these glasses is a series of depressing events. We’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop, for things to get even worse. We don’t really expect that God will make any difference. We pray more as a ritual than with real anticipation. We don’t understand people who are excited about their faith, and predict they’ll soon get over that.
Along with tinting, we’re also trying to see through the accumulated dirt and debris of our experiences and expectations. Like the young wife, we’re prone to thinking the dirt must be the fault of someone else. This not only attaches blame to an innocent party, but keeps us from cleaning up our own house.
The dirt on our windows comes from both inside and outside.
On the inside, our own fingerprints smudge our glass. We have a marked tendency to keep putting our hands on everything in our lives and doing it our own way. If we want to see what God reveals by His light, it’s important to remove our impressions and those of others.
Nose-prints are another source of smudges. We need to take our noses out of God’s business and stop trying to do what only He can do. It’s not our job to judge others, or try to control them.
Outside, dust, pollen and pollution impede our view. Those around us may kick up dust in protest about something they don’t like. Tiny seeds of discontent will swirl and drift until they find a place to settle. The pollution of self-centredness, greed, violence and immorality are contaminating more and more of the world around us. The environment in which we live is a continuous assembly line of contaminants that requires our ongoing attention if we want to see well.
Clear, clean windows allow us to experience the full light of Christ shining into our lives and ultimately to reflect Him to the world around us. The Word of God is Windex for the soul: it washes, cleanses and purifies when it’s used full strength and polished by prayer.
So whenever we think we’re looking at someone else’s dirty laundry, let’s remember to check our own windows.
You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.