You can't whitewash your sins and get by with it; you find mercy by admitting and leaving them.
Whitewash makes things look pretty - it has a way of fading over time, though. It was used by farmers to minimize the sun's effect on the trees in the cold months of winter when the trees were supposed to be dormant for a while. The sun could get to the trees easier since the leaves had fallen off or were thinner, and the warm sun would stir the trees into "false" growth if left without this protective coating. It wasn't permanent - but the purpose it served was directly related to the health of the tree. The base of the tree was coated until it gleamed white in an attempt to stay off the growth, allowing the time of dormancy in the trees in an otherwise 'unsuitable' climate. Since the roots are in cold ground and not much moisture was to be found in the winter, if growth was begun prematurely, the tree would be in a dehydrated condition and the fruit produced would not be as delicious the next year. We might think it counter-productive to stay off growth, but growth without proper 'maturity' only produces sour fruit!
Whitewash could also refer to any deceptive word or action that we use to cover up or gloss over faults or errors in our behavior. It is an excuse! We cannot whitewash our sins and get away with it, though. We may look okay on the outside, but all the whitewash is doing is keeping us from really developing the good fruit we really need to be producing! We look okay, but our roots are in "cold" soil and the growth that would be produced is less than "full and ripe". We aren't going to develop the maturity of character if all we are doing is painting a good coat of whitewash over our lives through clever excuses and disguised actions. There is value in admitting our sins and then leaving them behind. It sets us free to get solidly rooted and opens us to the growth that really needs to occur. Keeping sins hidden is pretty tough. Whitewash doesn't remain forever - it fades with time. If we seek to hide behind some kind of whitewash excuse, we will always be "touching up" the exposed places of our lives.
It is a constant effort to attempt to 'cover over' any of our non-productive growth - an effort that would be better applied to learning how to walk away from the cold, dry ground that produces such stunted and 'sour' fruit in our lives! Next time you are tempted to bust out the "whitewash" and gloss over a sinful action or response, why not ask God to help replant you in some soil that will allow for your growth - you will find you enjoy the "son-shine's" effect! The sooner we realize there is no benefit to 'sour fruit', the more we will allow God to tend our lives as only a skilled gardener or arborist can. The 'whitewash' God applies isn't the kind that wears off in time - it is that which gives us genuine purity and strength of character. We all seem to go through seasons in which there is a sense of 'dormancy' or 'non-productive' growth. Even that time of dormancy serves a purpose - it is preparing us for the next phases of our 'extensive' growth. Short burst of extensive growth are often the result of having had those seasons of just 'waiting it out'. We don't need physical whitewash in our lives, but we do need the protection of the Holy Spirit 'enveloping' our lives and helping us not to rush growth - because rushed growth only produces stunted and sour fruit. Just sayin!