Thread: Hoarders
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:24 AM
Posts: n/a

Originally Posted by Mark View Post
My wife is watching Hoarders. Is it a sin to live in a dirty house? What about a house that is not kept clean?
Yeah, I think he's referring to the non-pet kind, but there are emotional problems either way no doubt.

Back to the first question, is living in a dirty house sinful?

For good measure, a sin question boils down to a few things.
1) Honoring or glorifying God
2) Reflecting God's love and toward the people around you

(Wait, those just sounded familiar...)
Those kick a lot of doors open, which can be subjective.

Well, I imagine that there was a lot of dirt in Jesus' day, but that's like saying murder isn't wrong because it happened before. There are two kinds of dirty, filth and clutter/crowded. Between the two, apply the below as appropriate.

Now, some people link clutter to furthering depressive states, but that's iffy. Some folks get into collecting a specific thing, a neat and tidy hobby, but it's idolatry when it goes awry (such as the uncontrollable, drooling urgency to have every single thing with a certain celebrity's name on it...ahem. No I'm not confessing something, why do you ask!?!?). That's not the type of thing that gets on the hoarding show. Some folks on that show are responding to emotional wounds. If normal hobby collecting goes awry, then how others are treated by the hobbyist's clutter is a second sin.

What is sinful is more relational (boy, I hope Nate chimes in to clarify my following statements). A house will get dirty. Things accumulate "themselves." First, are you (hypothetical person) caring for the ones you love? Is letting it get a little dirty counter to the love one should have for another? That can be in many ways. Some is just consideration for one's spouse, such as doing the dishes immediately and not "later." (Just making up an example.) Has filth or clutter gone to the point of being a health hazard? This can happen in days in a kitchen. Does creating a biological or physical hazard care for one's kids lovingly? Do bruises build character? (Yes!!)

(On the other end of the spectrum, some places are so bleached clean that kids don't develop an immune system. Now we have epidemics of allergies. Someone once pointed out to me that the healthiest kids were the farm kids who got exposed to all the junk.) So, yeah, "clean" is good, but freaking out over it, city-slicker style, is its own idolatry. There's enough around to keep an immune system busy. We are lovingly not going to let the baby eat dog poop, but we're not godlessly freaking out to vacuum the carpet hourly while the kid crawls.

In the clean house example, love can be tidying up the junk and getting rid of it because your spouse doesn't like it, even if he/she is mostly ok living with it. Cleaning the filth is much like bathing your kids, because we need hygiene. Whatever you might apply to your (whoever) situation, you can demonstrate care, thus love, in ways others didn't realize they might appreciate. It's not the floor or the trash, it's the heart that does these things. Is there an opportunity to show love/care even if it's not demanded? Is doing the laundry voluntarily a bad idea because you'll just end up ruining her clothes??? So, a dirty house can be sinful, but how dirty and why depend on the people involved. Love is not merely putting up with others' peeves. "Oh, that's just dad. "

I hope this throws some framework at the original question. Living in a dirty house can be sinful and the result of sins. Neglect is sinful where others are involved. Ever see a kid whose parents don't care for him?

Thanks for reading. (Got temped not to post cuz of length.)

Last edited by Conrad; 01-17-2012 at 08:46 AM.
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