rev-dr-walter-t-richardson_web.jpg“Be gracious to me, O God, according to your loving kindness. According to the greatness of your compassion, blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  — Psalm 51:1,2 – NASV

While growing up in the projects of Liberty City, at least twice a year in our house we had major  cleanings.

One major cleaning would occur in the spring just before Easter. The other major cleaning would take place after our back-to-school shopping was over, typically around the middle of August. 

My younger brother and I would be called on to assist in some of the most uninteresting and unappealing activities.  We had to help momma clean the house “from top to bottom.” All the drawers had to be emptied.

All the sheets pulled off the beds, the mattresses taken outside to be aired and the throw rugs were beaten. The smell of bleach permeated the house.

There was Ajax in the sinks and toilets. We had to dust everything that lay flat, and wipe down everything that was upright. Every window had to be washed and wiped until it glittered. All the draperies were shaken out; all clothes and rugs were washed and then hung on the clothes line. All the dishes, pots and pans had to be re-washed, new-shelf paper put down, and the screens had to be scrubbed.

Old clothes were pulled out of closets, cleaned and packed to be given away. The Venetian blinds had to be washed, the stove had to be cleaned, and the refrigerator made spotless. Everything that was clogged had to be cleared and all clutter had to go.

Now, what about spiritual cleaning?  When is the last time we took a critical look at our lives to discover how much unnecessary material has piled up in our lives? Many of us have so much bad stuff,  junk and garbage stacked up, that we don’t have anywhere to put anything new from God.

Many marriages are clogged with unresolved conflicts. Friendships are cluttered with un-forgiven offenses.

Our faith is encrusted with the barnacles of ungodly beliefs. Some of our attitudes are stinking and slimy; and some of our activities are grimy because of exposure to crude and sexually explicit materials. Also, far too many bibles are dusty, too many meditations hung up in the prayer closet, and our dated testimonies are toxic.

We have frightening friends, cold companions, bothersome boos, and insignificant significant others that need to be cleaned out. We find ourselves surrounded by, and many times influenced by, valueless, worthless, useless, good-for-nothing, no-good, trifling, unsaved, unrighteous, unholy, thoughtless, and unthankful people.

This is a good time to sit down, reflect, and then do some serious cleaning up and clearing out whatever is not right for our relationship with the Lord. Start cleaning out now!

The Rev. Dr. Walter T. Richardson is the senior pastor emeritus of the Sweet Home Missionary Baptist Church, 10701 SW 184th St. in Perrine.  He is also an adjunct professor of religion at St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens.

Rev. Richardson may be reached at