I had taken daily trips to the garbage bin and the recycle bin.I had filled the garbage container to the brim–and then some. Had to jump on it to get everything in. Two hours later the garbage truck pulled up. A feeling of joy came over me as I watched it being emptied. I know–strange! I do the same thing every week. And the same feeling of well-being comes over me when I see it gone. Someone tell me I am not weird!
May we experience a similar relief when we take out the garbage that accumulates in our souls. We can forget it is there, until our soul begins to smell putrid. I take my garbage on during my time of morning prayer. I do the acrostic “PRAY.” After I have spent time praising God for who He is and what He has done, I turn to repentance. I have a long list of sins of the heart–a critical spirit, jealousy, a victim mentality, and many more. I look over the list, sensitive to the Spirit to see if He highlights any that I need to confess. It becomes my time to take out the garbage, anything inside that doesn’t belong there, that needs to be removed so it doesn’t grow putrid. Here are some truths about taking out the garbage:
Sin is garbage. Don’t try to make it sound nice. When I am carrying the garbage out and a sack breaks, cleaning it up is gross. No getting around it–Satan makes sin look beautiful. Movies often highlight affairs. Ugly and putrid just became attractive. Sin carries disease and is deadly. Deal with it. Garbage can hide behind a victim mentality. Someone sinned against us, and we feel the need to hold that person accountable, so we keep our garbage rather than eliminating it. Bad idea. It festers. We may even feel it is important to share with a friend. So we dump the garbage on them rather than in the garbage bin, and they commiserate with us. An interesting word. They share our misery. Do we call that fellowship? It is walking in the darkness, not the light. Far better to deal appropriately with garbage.
Confession is part of a Christian’s routine. As Cornelius Planting wrote, “Recalling and confessing our sin is like taking out the garbage; once is not enough.” Garbage that hangs around gets exponentially more putrid. Ours turned into maggots while we enjoyed our vacation once. We came home to garbage that had multiplied. Confession is a part of my regular prayer time, so I hopefully don’t take up an offense or respond in a reactionary way. If I ignore sins, I start smelling like the garbage outside by the garage.
The longer you wait, the more putrid the smell. You don’t realize it, but you are smelling up the atmosphere with the toxic poison of bitterness, resentment, and hostility. That is why James, the brother of Jesus, writes, “”Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness…” (James 1:19-21). Garbage that goes in the truck is not typically recycled; it is dumped and used for landfill. Dump yours–don’t hold onto it. (Part 2 coming).