“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”–Ephesians 4:29-32 (NIV)
‘Tis the season for garage sales in my town. This weekend, our town has a city-wide sale and I am already slowing down on residential streets to make way for cars, trucks, strollers, and people ambling the streets looking for a treasure. In past years I have seen trailers loaded down with goods slowly creeping out of town, off to some faraway destination. It seems that everyone is ready to get rid of something…
I don’t have a garage sale at my house, never got into it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have stuff to get rid of. I have a basement of “treasures” that our family doesn’t seem able to part with. These will sit and collect dust, maybe head to the thrift store when they get too numerous, but it is also really easy to justify keeping them where they are. “We might need this some day.” Ever hear that one?
Skirting around garage sale enthusiasts today, I am reminded of this Scripture to the Ephesians. Paul is describing several things the people of God should get rid of—not garage sale treasures or basement clutter—but more serious items like unwholesome talk, malice, bitterness, rage, anger. Just as we clean our basements and garages and dump our junk out, Paul is telling us to dump our spiritual junk too, the stuff that gets in the way of love and draws us away from others and God.
With garage sales, we spread our junk around to a willing buyer. Paul says to get rid of our spiritual junk completely. Sharing it with others will only hurt them and us… we need to eradicate it.
Hard words. Do you have anger? Bitterness? Malice of any type toward someone? A mouth that loves to put others down? I know I have been guilty of these at times…. And I find they don’t make my life better, but form a tight hard place in my heart that steals my joy. The difficulty is, we sometimes like to keep this spiritual junk. Tucking it away in our hearts, we sort it, think about it, but don’t get rid of it. Sometimes we like staying angry or bitter. We sometimes can’t stop putting someone down. We like it. Paul admonishes us to be compassionate to others and forgive them as Christ forgave us. That is hard to do with a big ugly lump of anger or bitterness inside.
‘Tis the season of garage sales. And dumping our spiritual junk at the foot of the cross. Try it. You’ll feel better and have more peace when you do!
Prayer-“Gracious God, I know there are things I need to get rid of. I name them now…..(confess what you need to get rid of). Please take these away from me, forgive me for keeping them, and help me to lean on you for strength. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”