Cleanliness next to Godliness?

Fears, Life and Happiness

My in-laws arrived last week. Before they arrived, I forced my husband to clean the house like a madman. We scrubbed and polished and even moved the couch. I shoved papers into unseen places and picked up every last bit of dirt I saw. I doubt they noticed, but it made me feel better while they were here.

Then, the in-laws wanted to have a little get together with my parents, but my mom wasn’t feeling up to leaving her house. I arranged to take the in-laws to my parent’s house but my mom said, “They’ll have to put up with my mess.” (There is no mess…ever…at my mom’s house.) Once again, I’m sure they didn’t even notice the non-existent debris.


On more than one occasion I’ve heard people say, “Well, I’ll have to clean” or “They will just need to deal with the junk” when there truly isn’t ever anything to be so stressed about. I know I don’t really take note when I visit other people’s homes, but I stress about my own if I know anyone is stopping by.

tln kitchen mess, 25 january 2011

I’ll admit – this I would notice. This is NOT my mom’s house.

It caused me to wonder: Does everyone fret about their home when company is coming over?

I found this post discussing the same topic. Check out the comments. Almost everyone admitted that they clean before company. But many also said they didn’t care when going to other homes. Kitchen and bathrooms seem to be the rooms at the top of the “better be clean” list for most folks though. I can only agree. When I visit someone’s home, especially for a meal, the kitchen cleanliness is a must for me. I can’t even describe to you how I feel when it isn’t clean…it works up my gag reflexes. Bathrooms certainly bother me as well and it’s why I often don’t go when I’m out. (Although I’m not as bad as my mother who refuses to go in public restrooms.)

When I looked up this phenomenon I mainly got websites for OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and facts on hoarding. I think it can be a little of both – for both ends of the spectrum – but I’m fascinated by it. For me, my mom always had a clean home and used to (thank you Mom for no longer doing this) comment on the cleanliness of my home. It was what a “good homemaker” did. (How antiquated right?)

Of course we also know that “cleanliness is next to Godliness” is from the Bible.

Wait… no it ISN’T? This is one of those “scriptures” that people repeat but is not actually found in scripture!

Psalm 19:9 KJV states, “The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever” but this is not referring to cleanliness. Other versions state, “The fear of the Lord is pure” instead. It’s not about cleanliness…but it is about being pure in your fear of the Lord. Respecting Him. Being clean might not get us closer to Him, but fearing and respecting Him surely will.

So we can toss that opinion out the window.

Does it go back to “keeping up with the Joneses'” mentality? We think our neighbors automatically have clean homes or, perhaps, employ servants to keep it spit-shine new?



I guess I should just be thankful that all my friends think they have to clean before I come over… and they should be grateful I reciprocate. It sure would be nice to NOT do it once in awhile, but then…when would my home ever be clean?


2 thoughts on “Cleanliness next to Godliness?

  1. Great post, Sue. We also clean before going on vacation … just in case a burglar breaks in??? Well, he’d be company of sorts. And we sure wouldn’t want him spreading gossip about our untidy house, now would we?

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