I picked up the small pamphlet, intrigued by the title. It was advertising huge rectangular green bags that hold as much trash as a small dumpster. You can fill it up with trash and have it hauled away. “DISCOVER THE JOY OF GONE” was the title of the pamphlet.
What a great title, not just for promoting a giant garbage bag, but for life in general! We all have garbage in our lives, and not just the kind that can be left at the curb.
Most of the material garbage we put at the curb is of our own making, the trash from our waste baskets, food scraps, or waste material from a home improvement project. Sometimes it’s the trash of someone else: discarded aluminum cans or fast food bags on our front lawn or the previous owner’s junk left in the house we just purchased.
Similarly, the non-material garbage in our lives is usually self-inflicted sin, but it can also be the sin of others that’s dumped into our lives. What are we to do about it?
The basic answer is that we can always do something. God has built into us the amazing ability to make choices. We’re free to choose!
When it comes to the garbage that others dump into our lives we often don’t have much to say about it happening. But we can have a say as to what happens next! The Bible is filled with stories of people treated badly by others and how God brought good out of it.
When it comes to the self-generated garbage in our lives, we can have God’s help in overcoming the grip of addiction that’s causing us to hold on to it. Some of this help from Him is channeled through people, requiring an openness to receiving help from others.
The way God has for us to get rid of the guilty garbage of the wrong we’ve done in the past (and present and future) is to offer us forgiveness. It’s not wise to begin by trying to forgive ourselves; that’s like trying to lift ourselves up off the ground by pulling on our own shoestrings. We first need God’s forgiveness, and we can have it. We just need to ask Him for it, then believe we have it. Once we’ve experienced the overwhelming forgiveness of God we can more easily forgive ourselves.
We don’t have to continue living in the squalor of the garbage in our lives. We have available to us a Divine Garbage Collector who can haul it away and have it be gone! Because of Him we can “DISCOVER THE JOY OF GONE.”
“The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.’” Zechariah 3:4