It sneaked up on me late yesterday afternoon when I least expected it. I was, after all, in the middle of cooking dinner and it was the last thing on my mind. Besides, I thought I was over it, done with that. I was good. God knows what lurks in the dark and sometimes dusty corners of our heart. He knows what belongs there and what doesn't and He knew I'd picked up a bit junk the other day. I was supposed to get rid of it but instead of throwing it out like I was supposed to, I slipped it into a dark corner and figured that was good enough. It was out of sight, out of mind, right? Right!
The problem was, I unexpectedly caught of glimpse of it yesterday and when I did, well, I had to drag it out again. I had to look at it, feel it and experience it all over again. In my case it was hurt feelings and in your case it might be something different. It doesn't matter what that piece of junk is. It is still junk and it must be discarded.
Something interesting happens to us when we begin to not be able to get rid of things. We begin to accumulate more junk and as we do, we find it more and more difficult to let go. Sometimes we become disgusted with it. We wish that we didn't live like this. We really don't like all the junk piled up around us. Oh, perhaps we don't mind it so much at first but eventually it overwhelms us. We think we should get rid of it but we discover we have become used to it; we have grown fond of it. Perhaps we even become a bit hostile towards anyone who dares to suggest that some purging and housecleaning might be in order. How dare they mess with our junk!
God does not want our hearts to be a holding cell for junk. That's why yesterday the Holy Spirit pointed out a dark and dusty corner to me yesterday and asked, "What's that?"
"What that?" I asked. "Oh, it's nothing. Well, there was something over there but I cleaned it up and... "
Hmm... this conversation was not going the way I had hoped. I decided to try another tactic and grudgingly pulled it out of the corner. "Well you see, they did this and said that and they didn't even apologize. THEN to make things worse, they began to act like they had done nothing wrong. They walked about, puffed up like they were some sort of saint and... "
"So have you."
I choked. I had been getting all warmed up and had even pulled out my handy-dandy list of my grievances against someone else when I heard those words. I dropped my list and hung my head.
"But what they said was untrue." I whimpered.
"What they said about me was untrue as well. I was humiliated, ridiculed and rejected. I was betrayed by one of my own and abandoned by my friends. I got what I did not deserve, betrayal, abandonment, shame, punishment and death yet how did I respond to that?"
I was quiet for a long time. I knew what He said was true and I knew what the answer to His question was. I just didn't want to say it. I didn't want to say what I knew to be true but I knew that when God asks you a question, you must answer it and you must do so honestly for we cannot lie to God.
I hung my head and finally answered. "You forgave them, even as you hung there on the cross."
"And so must you."
My piece of junk seemed to be growing larger each second. I knew I could not linger any longer. I had to get rid of it. I had to forgive inspite of my anger and shame. Forgiveness is not optional. We must forgive.
I knew from past experience that there is no way I can get rid of the junk. I have to have help and so I asked. I asked the only One who could help me and of course His answer was yes. It was time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. My heart has no room for junk and neither does yours.
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