It’s officially Spring and that means it’s time for Spring Cleaning. I’m not sure how it happens but it seems like a ton of stuff always accumulates over the winter. Today we got tired of walking around it, stepping over it, and moving it from one place to another. So we worked all day digging, dragging and hauling. Before we knew it the truck was so loaded it wouldn’t hold any more. The springs on the old Ford sagged as we headed for the dump. As we got closer and closer I noticed more people with the same problem I had. They had their trucks loaded up too. It was almost like a parade as we entered the gates of the landfill. After we paid an exorbitant fee to be rid of all that garbage, we drove away. Our empty truck felt much lighter without the load. In fact it felt so good I wanted to spin donuts in the parking lot. We drove back home with smiles on our faces.
You’ve read about them in the paper and heard about them on the news. They call them hoarders. They even made a TV show about them. They live in filth and no one wants to be around them because they never take out the trash.
Adam and Eve began their life in a perfect, pristine world. They had no secrets, no sore subjects, no past failures, no disappointments, no half-truths, and no broken promises. Genesis 2:25 says: They were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. All newlyweds begin their marriage with high hopes and high expectations.
Imagine a married couple standing in their bedroom, face to face in broad daylight, naked. (I hope you are imagining your spouse and yourself) Does that make you uncomfortable? Why?
Because we aren’t speaking to one another since I said that stupid thing.
Because he might see that I‘ve put on 15 pounds.
Because he might want to make love and I don’t want to make love because we have other issues.
Because she expects me to say something romantic and I can never think of anything to say.
Because he let our children get away with not doing their chores.
Because she spent a bunch of money and didn’t discuss it with me first.
Because he was playing the stock market and lost it all on a stupid decision.
We all crave intimacy. But we are afraid to let our guard down to attain it. We build walls of protection around ourselves but the walls isolate us and imprison us. Sin makes us ashamed.
Do you remember God said it is not good for man to be alone? It still isn’t. But sin cuts us off from relationship. It cuts us off from relationship with God, and it cuts us off from relationship with our spouse. All couples want a marriage where we can be naked and unashamed. But instead we become hoarders. We collect sin. We collect ammunition. Our spouse sins against us and we sin against our spouse and by the time the honeymoon is over…The honeymoon is over.
Sometimes when a couple comes into my office for marriage counseling it is like they back a dump truck in and dump it in the middle of my office. Then we spend the next hour sorting through the trash. But there is a better way.
The truth is, we are a sinner and we’re married to a sinner. We need to learn the fine art of forgiveness. We need to learn repentance, communication, apologizing, grace, overlooking a transgression, and conflict resolution. We need to learn to take the garbage out.Have you noticed if you take the garbage out every day it stays contained in one little receptacle? It doesn’t even stink because it hasn’t been there long enough to spoil. Plus it’s easy to carry out a neat, little white bag with a drawstring. Jesus told us to deal with today’s problems today… that every day has enough garbage of its own (Matt 6:34). Taking the trash out every day is part of the abundant life.
Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. Eph 4:31-32