Taking out the trash

May 4, 2008 — Leave a comment

Sunday nights are among my least favorite times of the week. . . not because I dread Mondays. . . not because I’m worn out. . . but because that means I have to get all the trash together to take to the dumpster.

Those of you who have small children know how much trash can accumulate in a week’s time. And the stench of it can be indescribably rank. I have learned through the years that it is best to take out the trash on a more regular basis, even if the trash collectors don’t come but once a week. Still there are times when I get behind on my regular chores and find myself scrambling to round up all the trash on Sunday night.

Of course, I’m very grateful for the trash truck — and those who drive it. Just think what your home would look — and smell — like if the trash never went anywhere! Before long, the whole place would be uninhabitable and condemned by the city.

You know, our lives are a lot like that too. There are things that we want to hold onto, even when we know that doing so is bad for us. Maybe it’s a bad habit. Maybe it’s some kind of hurt. Maybe it’s something else. Whatever it is, I have a feeling you can name it. And, what’s worse — maybe you’ve held onto it so long that you don’t even notice the odor anymore.

Scripture has something to say about this too:

Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. (1 Peter 2:1)

The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21)

I’m sure you can come up with your own list of trash items that need to be taken out. What happens when we don’t rid ourselves of the filth? It inevitably pollutes our bodies, our families, and our home.

Maybe someone reading this has been so deeply wounded that keeping the trash close is a way of life. Maybe it’s even a strategy to repulse those who might get close enough to cause further harm. Do not be fooled: that protective strategy will ultimately destroy because it will also keep out those who just want to love, to listen, and to help grab a bag of trash and tidy up your life.

Maybe that wounded person is you.

As you go through this week, I hope you’ll be mindful of the times when you’re tempted to say, “Oh, I’ll throw that away later” or “Maybe I could use this for something. . .I’ll hold onto it awhile longer.”

Call it trash. Get rid of it daily. And begin living again — really living. The choice is yours.


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