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Posted: February 7, 2013 9:10 p.m.

McCoy: Clean the house, tear it down

If the mildew appears a second time, the priest will come and say, “This house is unclean. It’s covered with mildew that can’t be removed.” Then he will have the house torn down and every bit of wood, stone, and plaster hauled off to an unclean place outside the town.
Leviticus 14:43-45
(Contemporary English Version)

I have reverted to my childhood. I am in the process of doing something I haven’t done since I was in high school, many (I won’t say how many) years ago. I am reading through the Bible this year. It’s a daunting task, and I have to confess that it is likely that I have never read through the entire Bible from cover to cover. Why? Because until a few years ago, I would get to Leviticus and Numbers and skip over those books. They seem to be filled with laws and rules and blood of a sacrificial system that is no longer part of our religious culture and heritage, and hasn’t been for almost 2,000 years. What could those books possibly have to say that would relate to me, a pastor in a high-tech 21st century society today?

Well, it’s now mid-February, and I am right smack dab in the middle of Leviticus, plodding my way through all the bloody animal parts and rules of sacrifices when I find something that seems rather out of place: a section on housecleaning. Now, the Levites had a different way of looking at those little spots that appear on the walls in your bathroom and on the backs of shower curtains. They lived back before the days of chlorine and ammonia-laden lemon-scented bath cleaners. We may think we live in a disposable society, where we just throw away and replace things rather than fixing them, but these people went to what I would consider extremes. If their homes started growing mildew, and all homes do at one time or another, they would have to take out the bricks or wall pieces, throw them away and then, they would replace and replaster. The extreme home makeover reality shows have nothing on the people in Leviticus.

While we don’t tear our houses apart looking for mildew, when we examine our lives, sometimes we see little spots — little parts of our lives that have become smudged with unresolved conflicts, unconfessed sins and unchecked attitudes. Maybe the Levites had it right after all. Maybe when we see those little “spots” of sin popping up, it means there may be a deeper issue which requires a complete inner beauty makeover. The writer in I John 1.9 said that if we confess our sins, Jesus can always be trusted to take away our sins and to cleanse us from all the little spots that infect our spiritual house — our lives. But why is it important to take care of those spiritual mildew spots in our lives? Because they grow and spread like mildew until they consume the whole house. The Apostle Paul says it this way: “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19) We are God’s dwelling place, and so it is important that we keep our lives spotless before God so that our house is a clean place for God to live.
What sin spots in your life do you need to get rid of today?

Rev. Jan McCoy is the Associate Pastor of Covington First United Methodist Church in downtown Covington. She may be reached at or at

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