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Too good to be true

The Life Less Traveled

February 23, 2011
Last fall, my wife and I began house shopping, hoping to get into something affordable while interest rates were low. We looked at several homes but couldn't find anything in our price range until one day our real estate agent stumbled onto a bank foreclosure.

One glance inside and we fell in love. It had to be the nicest looking foreclosure anyone had ever seen. The front door opened to a two-story living room with a stone fireplace that went floor to ceiling. Everywhere we looked we found cool touches, like a window seat in the master bedroom and a Jack-and-Jill bathroom that would connect our girls' rooms upstairs. To top it all off, the bank had given it a fresh coat of paint and replaced all of the carpet.

I couldn't believe we were going to get into a house considerably larger than ours for almost the same house payment. It seemed too good to be true.

Then, we had the home inspection. Not good.

On a snowy Monday morning, I met the home inspector and our termite inspectors at the house to check it out. Everything seemed to be going great with the home inspector, but when the termite guys came out of the crawl space, they looked like a couple of doctors who were about to tell me I only had a few months to live.

Hmm, I thought. Something tells me I'm not going to like what they have to say. The home inspector went down and investigated it for himself, then came back and broke the news.

Mold and lots of it.

So, the next day I ended up back there with the mold inspector, who gave me the full damage report. About five minutes into his evaluation, I knew the deal was off. Sure, I was disappointed, but Christy and I had both gone into this thing holding on loosely. Neither of us like to count our chickens before they're hatched.

But the crazy thing was that all I could think of the rest of the afternoon was something Jesus once said to the religious leaders of his day. He compared them to dirty cups that had been cleaned up on the outside but inside were full of filth. He also said they were like whitewashed tombs, which looked fantastic but inside were full of "the bones of the dead and everything unclean."

These guys were experts at spin and image management but clueless about what it meant to have a relationship with God. It's no wonder Jesus got so frustrated with them. They claimed to have all the answers, when actually they were more lost than anyone else. It's ironic that prostitutes and crooks flocked to Jesus, but these religious leaders totally missed the boat.

But the truth is you don't have to be a pompous religious leader to be a hypocrite. I was a master at hypocrisy long before I became a Christian.

This house deal made me think about my life and how much effort I've spent trying to appear like I had it all together, when, inside, I was just a mess. If we worked even half as hard dealing with the junk in our hearts as we do trying to keep up a good front, our lives could be totally transformed.

So, maybe today's the day for an extreme makeover for all of us, one that starts from the inside-out.

Jason Byerly, a 1990 graduate of Crawford County Junior-Senior High School, is the children's pastor at Southland Christian Church near Lexington, Ky. He and his wife have two daughters. For more from Byerly, visit www.jasonbyerly.blogspot.com or follow him at www.twitter.com/jasondbyerly.

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