Who Are You? – Cleanliness

Posted on: June 28th, 2011 by mrjsthomas No Comments

A short time ago, I was laughed at when I mentioned, in a men’s Bible study, that one of God’s attributes was cleanliness. The look on people’s faces was something of mockery and at the same time, inquisition. From cover to cover of the Bible, I see a picture painted of a deity who like things picked up, washed off, and orderly. If you are Jewish or are acquainted with the Jewish culture, you will be familiar with their general, personal, and household tidiness. This comes from their history of serving a God who is generally, shall we say, clean.

If you are doubtful, I would not hesitate to send you to the Levitical chapters of the Old Testament to see the dietary and cleaning rituals laid out in great detail. Even note the consequences for failing to follow these statutes; pretty rough. It was a required way of life that helped protect life, and God being the God of the living, not of the dead, instructed the Jewish people in the ways of hygiene.

From a more subjective vantage point, I think it would be fair to say that most people prefer a clean environment to its alternative. Think back to a time when you visited a restaurant; a Dairy Queen, or a local ‘greasy spoon’, and witnessed flies swarming over the tables, or maybe you picked up a fork that was carrying remnants of the previous user’s meal between the tines. Your impression of the place was probably not stellar, and what may have stuck in your memory was more of a warning to you not to return.

That old saying, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness” is more true than many of might care to admit; it tends to act as a measure of our internal cleanliness. If you take care of yourself, it is probable that you will take care of others, and people notice that. They may not be consciously thinking, “That person is well dressed and groomed; I bet she’d make a great friend”, but what is worn on the outside does bare some resemblance to what’s on the inside. People gravitate to those with a warm, genuine smile in the same way there is something magnetic about a person who is polished and clean.

When it comes to the professional field, customers would rather the business be well-kept, and therefore, Human Resource professionals and hiring managers would sooner hand the job over to one whose hands are clean than risk the company’s reputation getting dirty. Nobody likes having their car serviced, and then being handed greasy keys that transmit used motor oil to their slacks or skirt. Tradesmen are expected to remove or cover their boots before entering a customer’s home.This does not put aside the fact that performing work often requires you get dirty, but my writing this to address a life-style, and not disparage one whose work creates a mess.

The principle at work here is simply one of respect. If you don’t respect yourself, it follows that you won’t respect others. If you don’t take care of yourself, it can be reasoned that you may not take care of others. Businesses keep their store-fronts clean, partly as a gesture of respect, but mainly because they know that a neglected public area is a sure way to get customers heading for the doors, and with little hope of them returning.

My encouragement to the reader is this: work on being mindful of your inner cleanness. Clean out the closet, so to speak. Seek to align the inside with the outside. Take a hard look at you house, your car, your clothes… you. It takes work, but if work is what you’re looking for, why not start on yourself? Potential customers will notice, your [future] boss will notice, your spouse and friends will notice, and even you may be surprised by the results. Consider this: if part of an interview process was for the interviewer to rate you based on the condition of the interior of your car, do you think you would win the job? What if they wanted to hold the interview in your home on short notice? Would you be comfortable inviting them in? One difficulty of being unemployed is the lack of demands to get up, clean up, and dress up. But think how much better you would feel, how much more confidence you would have, how clear your mind could be, if your surroundings were neat and organized.

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