The mere mention of the word elicits a groan of pain for some people. For others, it generates smiles, enthusiasm and fervour. I’m not entirely sure where I stand on the matter.
I’ve been renovating my house for the past four years. Time and money, or rather the lack thereof, have been the major drawbacks, making my home resemble a constant construction zone.
If you were to enter my house through the front door, you’d immediately notice the floor. It’s made up of cement sheeting, red tongue particle board, cream tiles, painted particle board and red gum floating timber floor boards. And that’s just the beginning. I’ve had tools sitting in the entryway to my house and sheets of timber and cornice running up the hallway for several years.
When guests come over, I take an interest in their facial expressions as they enter. Some come in cautiously, as if the ceiling might collapse at any moment. Others glance around and look with a sense of relief—a look that says, “Well! My place isn’t in such a bad state after all!”
Most are polite enough not to make any comment at all, but some can’t help themselves. “How can you live like this?” they ask, or, “Don’t be embarrassed. You should see our house,” or, “So when are you going to get all this finished?”
A Change Of Perspective
The funny thing is, I don’t see what they see. Now, I know many of the women reading this article will roll their eyes and say to themselves, “Typical man.” But I say to you—a little sheepishly—“Maybe.” At the same time, I also think there’s more to it than that.
You see, when I enter my house, I don’t see the tools, the sawdust, the wall filler, the different kinds of flooring, the unpainted walls or the holes in the ceiling. Neither do I see the gaping hole from where I recently removed an internal wall (and, no, it wasn’t load-bearing . . . or was it?). All I see is the work that has been completed and how everything will look when it’s finished.
So while my guests step into my house and stand on small cream tiles and then onto cement sheeting, I walk in and stand on large 512-mm square white porcelain tiles that run throughout the house. The walls are smooth, cool-coloured and freshly painted. There’s enough space inside to fit the Milky Way!
So am I going mad from the smell of chemical residue? Let me explain.
What God Sees
When other people look at me, they see a middle-aged guy who could probably lose a few kilos, isn’t that fashionable, doesn’t get enough sleep or exercise, has made mistakes that have impacted negatively upon himself and others, and tries to get things right and yet often doesn’t quite make it.
And so, people may say to themselves, “Well, maybe I’m not so bad after all!” “How could he have been so stupid?” or “When will he get his act together?” Some may even say to me, “Don’t worry, I know someone who has made a much bigger mess of his life than you have.”
But I believe there’s more to me than just that.
The Bible tells me that when God looks at me, He sees someone whose sins have been forgiven (1 John 1:9) and who is counted as never having made a mistake (Romans 3:24). My thoughts are precious to Him (Psalm 139:17). He sees me as an adopted son of the most high God and He allows me to refer to Him intimately as “Dad” (Romans 8:15). He looks at me without one look of condemnation (verse 34) and He sees nothing but a clean and pure conscience (Hebrews 10:22).
How can God see me like that when really, I’m most certainly a work in progress, just as my house is in the process of renovation? What, or rather Who, makes the difference?
As He promised, “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life” (John 5:24).