Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered! – Psalm 32:1
This year, I’m responsible for a service-learning element in my middle school teaching job. Mainly, I take two middle school students and we take care of all the trash in the school. It took a little while, but we have a pretty sharp routine now and know how to get it all done pretty quickly.
At first, I didn’t really like doing it. It took some getting used to. Now, I like it. Last week, I had this really cool revelation from the Holy Spirit right in the middle of getting this job done.
Here’s the deal: If there is only paper in the trash cans, we pretty much just push it down, no work really required. If there is pretty much dry stuff, we just empty it into a bigger bag. The slightly tougher job comes when we actually have to change the liners. If there is food, liquids, or basically any nastiness in there, the whole bag comes out, and we replace it with a new one.
I thought of my own spiritual life and how long I allow “trash” to sit in my heart and my mind. Sometimes, there’s just paper in there. To me, this represents the stuff I worry about. Worry seems to be one of those acceptable sins. To God, I believe it is a great sin because it means we don’t think He can take care of us and we don’t trust him. By the end of the week, you need to empty the paper. Don’t carry that stuff around, as it will eventually spill over onto the floor of your heart.
Then there are other nastier things. You can’t walk through life without hearing foul things. Sometimes from time to time you see foul things. Things that stick in your mind like pancake syrup sticks to the trashcan liner. You have to take care of this immediately. That stuff will dry and tear the liner quite easily if stress is put upon it. Talk to God; empty it out on Him. He will give you a new liner. That is, He will clean you up so you can start afresh.
The most important stuff to empty is food. If it sits there long enough, it will begin to rot and smell very bad. To me, this is like the anger and resentment I can carry around. You might have a couple of days, but soon after that, it had better be taken out. When I have these feelings toward people, I just try to empty it every day. I tell God that I don’t want to feel this way. Sometimes it is the same people over and over. I must refuse to let that stuff sit there and rot. I cannot let it spoil my soul.
When we are done, everything is clean and ready to receive more trash over the next 24 hours. If I haven’t prayed and emptied my mind out to God, it sure is nice to have the reminder that I have my own trash to take care of.