Pastor Brian Gilroy,
High Prairie Church of the Nazarene
Many people by nature are hoarders. We come up with the craziest reasons as to why we need to keep something that enters our household. Even if the usefulness of the item has long since passed, we reason that we might need it someday and so we pack it away.
At least three times in my 25+ years of ministry have I encountered a physical example of this phenomena. The first time happened to be my next-door neighbour in a previous province. When the time came for this person to sell their house and move into a senior citizen’s residence, the family was aghast at the condition of the house.
There were stacks of newspapers from floor to ceiling everywhere with only a single person path to follow to go from room to room. The stacks of newspapers covered everything in the house from tables to furniture. The size of the recycling container was unbelievable and so was the number of trips that it took to clean out the house.
A second occurrence was a family dwelling with a widower and his son in an apartment building, once again in another province. When their stove stopped working, they ignored it and would depend a great deal on fast food. While there is nothing wrong with fast food occasionally, these two men kept every fast food bag and had a wall of fast food bags that was gradually taking over the apartment.
Once again, the bags went from floor to ceiling. When you entered the apartment, the carpet had an extremely high level of dirt and yet once again in the middle of the carpet was a single file path which had been vacuumed.
As humorous as these examples may be, the reality is that many people have the same problem on a spiritual level. Although, we may not hoard fast food bags or stacks of newspapers we often hold grudges against people for years and years. In some cases, the grudges become like fermented grapes and spill out into verbal wine at a torrential rate. This bitterness and vile is justified in one’s own mind and often they seek to convince others that what they have experienced should be how the offending individual or their relatives should be treated.
This is extremely dangerous.
I often wondered what would have happened to either one of these two families if one of the mountains of papers or the mountain of fast food bags had fallen or caught fire.
In the Bible, in Galatians 5:19-21, we read: “19 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
And in 1 Peter 2:1 we are also instructed to: “Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.”
Even though we know, in our heads, that what we are doing is wrong we often refuse to get rid of the spiritual clutter in our lives. Instead, we look for an opportunity to use it against someone else. Our desire becomes to exact “an eye for an eye” revenge instead of extending the grace that we have received from God for the sin that we have committed against God.
However, the most powerful statement on cleaning out bitterness or unforgiveness is stated by many people every day as those who refuse to forgive actually ask God to withhold His grace of forgiveness to them.
In the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:12, 14,15, we read: “12. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” – “14 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
A sin cluttered heart is no different than a cluttered house. In both cases, the quality of life is compromised. In both cases, the owner can do something about the problem.
Are you controlled by bitterness and sin or are you controlled by the power of the Holy Spirit?
Remember, God is not impressed with the words of our mouths or our good works even when done to impress God, you and I will be judged by the condition of our heart.
Are you ready to clean your spiritual house to help achieve that healthy soul? Or will it continue to build and build and build?
If you ask God to help with the cleaning, God, the Holy Spirit, will help you succeed.
Isn’t it about time, you were able to breathe fresh air again?