From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Dr. Graham:

I have Christian neighbors who refuse to clean their home and keep their yard groomed. Their little children seldom bathe. I am hoping that they might see this column and take it to heart. Is it true that cleanliness is next to godliness?

— C.F.

Dear C.F.: The great preacher John Wesley made a similar comment in one of his sermons and certainly God does want us to be pure in body and keep our surroundings clean. It has been proven that uncleanness of person or property may endanger the health or life of family or even of society. Someone said, “There is a close tie between cleanliness and morals.” While some may debate this, cleanliness is important.

The ancient Jews strove for physical cleanliness on religious grounds; and while many of these laws have been abolished, many others are incorporated into our own way of life today. The principle of physical cleanliness is still in force.

In America, even in the poorest of circumstances, a person can afford some soap and water. God has given us our bodies and we are to take care of them in every reasonable way we can. The apostle Paul commanded Christians to be pure in body because we are the temple of the Holy Spirit. But cleanliness means more than just keeping our bodies washed and our homes clean. God wants everything about us to reflect His goodness. That’s why Scripture says, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — (think) on these things” (Philippians 4:8)