We were zipping along Interstate 80 one afternoon, heading home through Pennsylvania on this beautiful day. I was really enjoying the view as I drove, until that semi pulled out onto the highway in front of us. The truck was belching this heavy black smoke out of its smokestack. Immediately the car in front of us swung into the left lane to pass him. As he was passing, he suddenly turned on his windshield wipers, and we noticed that they immediately began smearing this oily film across his windshield.
He had to pull over as soon as possible because he just couldn’t see out anymore. As we passed Smokey the Truck, my wife said, “Don’t turn on your wipers!” Our windshield was suddenly getting spattered with lots of little black stuff. It made it a little hard to see, but we managed to get to the next exit where the gas station attendant confirmed that those specks were what we thought – they were oil! He gave us some oil and tar remover, and it came right off. But for us – and especially for the man who had gone ahead of us – that junk on the windshield sure did ruin the view!
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “The View Through a Dirty Window.”
Right now, the view from your life may not be the greatest. Circumstances look pretty discouraging, life looks depressing, people seem annoying or against you, the future is looking fearful, maybe even hopeless, some people in your world aren’t looking very good to you right now either. In fact, to be honest, maybe your attitude is really going downhill, you’re more negative, you’re more critical, you’re more sensitive, you’re more afraid, you’re more short-tempered, or you’re more discouraged.
Consider this: maybe it’s not the road or the environment or the other drivers. Maybe you’re looking through a dirty window and everything and everyone looks dirty as a result. The problem may be the junk on your window, not the junk that’s happening outside. Everything looks dirty when you’re looking out a dirty window.
In a sense, God is encouraging us to clean the junk off our window in our word for today from the Word of God. In Ephesians 4:31, he addresses some of the feelings in us that make the world and the people around us look pretty dark to us. God says, “Get rid of all bitterness (Got any of that in your heart right now?), rage and anger (Got anyone you’re angry with right now?), brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” Notice, “get rid of those attitudes, get rid of those outlooks!” That stuff is like oil on your windshield. And so you are not able to see people clearly, you’re not able to see the circumstances clearly, and you’re not able to see clearly how you ought to respond.
When you get a dirty window, everything looks bad. You interpret even positive things through your negative filter, nothing people do looks right to you through your dirty window – everything’s bad, you keep connecting any present hurt to all the hurts of your past, you pick up all the negatives and you screen out any positives, you’re sure it’s hopeless so you don’t even accept any signs of hope. If you don’t get rid of those distorting perspectives, it’s going to affect your driving. You can’t keep going with your windshield all smudged like this. But remember, a chunk of the problem is your window, not what you’re looking at.
How do you clean off the junk that’s ruining your view? You ask your Lord for the grace to forgive, for the courage to confront, for the wisdom to leave yesterday’s pain out of today’s choices. You’re stressed, you’re swerving, you’re blind to what’s beautiful around you and it’s been that way long enough. It’s time to clean that dirty window.