A little spring cleaning?

Count yourself lucky, how happy you must be—you get a fresh start, your slate’s wiped clean. Count yourself lucky—God holds nothing against you and you’re holding nothing back from him. When I kept it all inside, my bones turned to powder, my words became daylong groans. The pressure never let up; all the juices of my life dried up. Then I let it all out; I said, “I’ll come clean about my failures to God.” Suddenly the pressure was gone—my guilt dissolved, my sin disappeared. These things add up. Every one of us needs to pray; when all hell breaks loose and the dam bursts we’ll be on high ground, untouched. God’s my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore, throws garlands of hosannas around my neck. Let me give you some good advice; I’m looking you in the eye and giving it to you straight: “Don’t be ornery like a horse or mule that needs bit and bridle to stay on track.” God-defiers are always in trouble; God-affirmers find themselves loved every time they turn around. (Psalm 32)

As I grew up, there were times when I backed myself into a few corners - lying to cover up something I did, but didn't want my parents to know I did. You may not have ever felt 'cornered' before, but I can recount one such occasion when I got into my grandma's stash of 'All-Sorts' licorice candy. That may not seem like a big deal to you, but it was one of her favorites so it was not really for my consumption. I was encountered by mom as she returned home, asking why I had been in the candy. She hadn't even stepped into the room where it was kept, nor opened the drawer in the hutch - so how on earth had my 'sin' been discovered? That saying about parents having eyes in the back of their heads took on a whole new meaning that day! She kept asking me over and over again why I had eaten my grandma's candy. I kept maintaining I had not, but somehow she knew I had! I was cornered. Little did I know it didn't take eyes in the back of her head to tell - the smell of licorice on one's breath is a dead give-away - let alone the tell-tale black tongue! I laugh at that now, thinking how ridiculous it was to maintain my 'innocence' when the truth was all so apparent. I wonder how many times we maintain we are 'innocent' when we are clearly in the wrong - just not really feeling like we want to admit our 'wrong-doing' for fear of the consequences?

The good news for all of us is that God doesn't 'back us into a corner' just to make us squirm. He knows our sin is eating away at us - guilt weighing heavily on our hearts - all the while looking for a way of 'escape'. We are the ones that back ourselves into that 'guilt corner', my friends! God is just there to do what any good parent will do - help us find a way out of the corner and back into the good graces of his arms. Mom didn't ground me, nor did she give me extra chores. My 'way out' of the corner was to go to grandma and let her know I had consumed nearly half of her favorite candies. Do you know what grandma did? She hugged me, thanked me for my honesty, and warned me I might not want to be far from the restroom for the next couple of hours! I had no idea what that much licorice would do to a gal!!! God's forgiveness is there - we just get 'cornered' by our sin and we think there is no way out, so we keep attempting to cover up what is so very obvious. Silly us - trying to conceal what is so apparent. We are indeed like the 'ornery horse or mule' that needs the bit and bridle - almost needing to be 'drug out' of the corner in order to realize how liberating the freedom from our sinful shame can be.

Keep sin bottled up inside - allowing that guilt to eat away at you over and over again - inventing one more cover-up to attempt to conceal it and you will find yourself in a truly miserable place. The 'corner' is no place to dwell. What goes to the corners in your rooms? Look closely - there are dust bunnies, gathered tufts of fallen hairs, perhaps even a few dead bugs that found their way into your home. Does light get into the corners very well? Not usually - but when it does, we see all the 'mess' there. The corner is no place for 'good people' to dwell - it is filled with all manner of yucky stuff. Isn't it about time we allowed ourselves a little 'breathing room' from our guilt and shame? We won't find it buried under the dust of our sin - we find it as the corners are swept clean. Just sayin!

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