“Have you removed the source, or did you just close the door and forget it's still there?”
Lord, I'm not the one responsible for hauling out the trash, he is.
“It's not the trash I'm talking about.”
I deflated like a hot air balloon. You see, when I opened the door to throw out some garbage, I was gnashing my teeth over a friend that had a way of getting on my nerves. She hadn't really done anything wrong, but I was dwelling on it because she had hurt my feelings earlier. Sure, she had offered an apology, but I hadn't let go of it yet. Rather than taking the garbage out of my life, I had just quickly closed the door, hoping it would disappear by itself. But it didn't. It sat in the trash can hole of my life and incubated, just like those tuna cans had. And the result was much the same.
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; ~Hebrews 12:15
By not taking out the trash of my life, I had allowed in a root of bitterness, and it was causing me trouble, just like Hebrews warned. Not only that, but the stench of those forgotten (shoved into a corner) cans was permeating my whole life, which in turn affected my family. If left alone, the stench and bitterness would consume my life.
But Lord, she...
You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye. ~Luke 6:42
Changing my friend, my sister in Christ, was not my responsibility, but pulling out that root of bitterness inside me was. As long as I was harboring bitterness, my life would stink and I wouldn't be at peace. That seemingly insignificant event was majorly stinking up my life. I had trash to take out.
While my son took out the trash and the smelly cans, I got out my cleaning supplies and went to work on the kitchen garbage hole, hoping to alleviate the smell as quickly as possible. I sprayed and scrubbed as I prayed and confessed my sin of stashing bitterness instead of hauling it out immediately. Facing my sin like that wasn't the most pleasant thing in the world, but the peace that replaced the bitterness made it worthwhile.
All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. ~Hebrews 12:11
When I was done, both garbage holes were clean—the kitchen garbage hole, and my heart's garbage hole. Peace once again reigned in my life and my attitude was as it should be.
What about you? Do you have smelly cans that need to be taken out so they don't incubate and stink? Don't just quickly shut the door and forget about them. Haul them out and get rid of any roots of bitterness that may be hiding among them.
Heavenly Father, thank You so much for Your forgiveness and for Your patience with us. Help me to see my sin for what it really is, and to bring it to You, confess it and remove it from my life. You alone are God, and I thank You and praise You for all You are and all You do. Use me for Your glory, in Your name I pray, amen.