COLUMN: Taking out the ‘trash’

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By Jon Rohr

It seems that trash collects in our garbage cans without any effort on our part. Now in the kitchen I understand, unpacking foods, opening cans, little bits of this and that all end up in the garbage can. But then there are the smaller cans in the living room, the bedroom, and the bathroom. Before you know it, tissues and tags and wrappers fill them up as well.
So once a week, we take all those cans and empty them into the big container outside and wheel it up to the curb. And, by the way, thank you Lord for folks that faithfully work on the garbage trucks. They take all that mess away and we never see it again.
And I don’t know about you, but I hate it when I forget to take out the trash. That means living with the garbage for an extra week and, especially in the summer, that smell can get a little ripe.
 What does garbage or trash have to do with faith? Well, a lot actually. Just like our homes collect garbage that needs to be taken out regularly, our lives do the same thing. Our hearts and our minds collect garbage from everyday living.
 Let’s face it. A television can bring a lot of garbage into our lives. The computer and the radio can add to the trash that fills our minds. But it is more than that, as human beings we can’t blame everything on TV or radio.
We create our own trash with selfish desires and hateful thoughts. We see a beautiful new car and our envy kicks in. Your boss gives that promotion to someone else and you start to feel the bite of bitterness. Or you get that promotion yourself, and then your own pride kicks in. You rush to judgment without all the facts or you spread some gossip that is not yours to share.
That garbage, that pride or lust or envy, gossip or judging, that is what the Bible calls sin. And just like the rest of the garbage, it needs to be taken out regularly. The Bible tells us, “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness” (1 John 1:9 NLT).
I like that picture. If we confess, if we take out the garbage, he’ll take care of it. When we let our garbage hang around too long, it begins to smell, but God promises to cleanse us.
Take out your trash today, and take it out regularly. You’ll be surprised at what a difference it can make in your heart, in your attitude and in your relationships, if you will just let go of all the garbage.
Jesus is faithful to forgive, and he is faithful to renew. Trust him and be cleansed.