I thought we were going to live there forever. But a week after the new windows were finally installed my husband took a new job across the country. After crying for days about leaving our best friends and favorite grocery stores, I focused all my energy on selling our beloved 90-year-old home.
We went room by room, writing down 63 things that needed to fixed and finished before we could sell it. The hole in the wall where my son smashed the doorknob every day. The moldy splotch on the ceiling where the tub above leaked. The bent screen door. The missing rungs on the back porch. The peeling paint.
We spent our weekends and evenings working on that list. Tacking up pieces of trim, painting over scratches and stains on the walls, replacing mirrors. We couldn’t fix it all, but we tried.
We sold the house very quickly to great buyers with no legal or financial issues. All that was left was the Home Inspection.
They say that Home Inspectors aren’t looking at any messes, just the house itself. That’s what I’m afraid of. When I sell a home I want to tip toe behind the Inspector and explain everything: why the floor is a little slanty in the kitchen, why the walls aren’t plumb in the renovated attic. I want to wow them a bit: did you notice the electric, appliances, and exterior doors are new? Did you notice the heritage quality tile we used in the bathroom? I pray the Home Inspector is gracious and kind. Please look over the flaws, it’s working just fine! It’s a great place. Your clients will love it here!
But when I buy a home I want to meet the Inspector in driveway with white gloves, a magnifying glass, and a lie detector test. I want to know why the grout is a different color right there, what that smell is, and if that’s a water stain in the basement. I want the Home Inspector to be ruthless. I want to know everything that is wrong and could go wrong. I don’t care if this home worked for them. I’m investing a lot here. I want it perfect.
When I confess my sins, it sometimes feels like I’m letting the Home Inspector in. I take a deep breath and open the front door with a forced smile. I’m already panicking about the hole in the fence, the leaky washer, and those critter noises I heard once in the wall.
I assume he doesn’t want tea or to chat on the couch, so I just say, “Should we start in the kitchen then?” I lead Jesus around with a cordial tone, crossed arms, and little eye contact. I want him to get it over with, leave the long list of issues on the counter, and get out of my house so I can put on pajama pants and recover eating my bag of chips in front of the TV.
All the Home Inspectors I’ve worked with are strangers, only there to provide a critical, objective, one-time assessment. They don’t want to build a friendship with me, and they don’t expect to be invited back.
Jesus isn’t like that. When I invite him over for a Home Inspection, he hugs me as soon as I open the door. He wants to eat brownies and hear about the kids. He laughs at my jokes. He takes his time. He asks permission before looking under the sink and in the crawlspace.
Sometimes he looks at me and asks, “Did you see this here? This crack goes all the way up the wall.” Sometimes it’s a crack I filled with toothpaste. Sometimes it’s brand new. Either way I feel scared and ashamed. He tells me that we’ll have to cut out a piece of the wall and see what’s causing it.
Sometimes I tell him I don’t want to do that, and he doesn’t force it. Sometimes I say, “Okay, fine, cut it” and he goes out to his truck for tools and cuts it right open. We look at the exposed pipes, support beams, and wires. The room gets messy with dust and plaster chunks.
Sometimes I want to hide in the middle of the Home Inspection, because Jesus has a fat notebook full of problems we’ll have to fix eventually. I wish he would just leave and not come back. Who can handle a project this big?
On those bad days Jesus finds me in the back of a closet. He sits on the floor next to me. He puts his clipboard down and offers me his open hand. I take it. He looks me in the eye and smiles reassuringly. After a long time I rub my palms on my knees, look back at him, and ask, “What room next?”
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. – 1 John 1:8-10
More About Home Inspections:
- How do you feel about forgiveness? Do you do you ask for it often? When is the last time? How did it go
- Have you ever tried to flatter or win over the Home Inspector in hopes of a better assessment? How did that go?
- What rooms in your heart do you hope the Home Inspector will overlook? What are you hiding? What makes you want hide in the closet?
- Do you feel farther from or closer to God after your Home Inspections? Why do you think that is?
- Consider setting the timer for 10 minutes and let the home of your heart be inspected today. Picture yourself opening the door. What does Jesus look like? What do you say to each other? Where do you go first? Which things catch his attention? Do you go into every room? What tone do you and Jesus use with each other? How does the inspection end?
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139: 23-24