Our pet rabbit, Flower, has a cage in our laundry room. Monday morning, I went in the laundry room to start sorting and washing clothes, but the smell of the cage was overwhelming. I realized one of my daughters had neglected her responsibility to clean out the cage on Saturday. I left the baskets of dirty clothes and called the negligent daughter to come take care of her job.
I left…she cleaned…I returned. The smell was still pretty bad. I looked at the cage. Although we lined the wire mesh cage with pieces of cardboard, the mesh allows poo pieces to fall through to the newspaper-covered floor beneath. The cardboard was now clean and fresh, but the poo still covered the newspaper. Again, I called the daughter to return and finish the job.
I left…she cleaned…I returned. Wow, the smell just didn’t seem to be getting any better. As I sorted laundry, I noticed the trash can. It contained all the trash the girls had removed from the cage and some wipes they had used to wipe up the floor. Although Flower’s cage was clean as was the floor beneath it, the source of the stink still remained. Again, I called my daughter to return, this time to take out the trash.
You’re probably thinking this is gross and wondering why I’m sharing it with the world. I’m sharing it because the stench and mess of the poo reminded me of the stench and mess of sin in our lives. Natural, yet messy, things get into our lives and cause a stink. The presence of sin doesn’t indicate a loss of our salvation; we all continue to sin even though we wish we wouldn’t. We can’t let them build-up though. Every so often, even as Christians, we have to go in and clean out the cage. Make apologies, seek forgiveness, deny behaviors, do the right thing…whatever it is, God is calling us to do it.
This is how I want you to conduct yourself in these matters. If you enter your place of worship and, about to make an offering, you suddenly remember a grudge a friend has against you, abandon your offering, leave immediately, go to this friend and make things right. Then and only then, come back and work things out with God (Matthew 5:23-24 MSG).
Not only do we have to clean out the messes sometimes, but it may take a few tries to get it right. Let me be clear here – God forgives sin the first time we confess it to Him. However, it may take a few tries to get rid of the reoccurrence in our lives.
We sin…God forgives…We return. Even though He has forgiven our sin, sometimes we still mess up and do it again. God’s response is to call us back to Him once again and forgive us once again.
We sin…God forgives…We return. Hopefully we can break the cycle at some point. Unfortunately, we may be in heaven before that occurs. Thankfully, His grace will last that long.