By Dr. Dan Coflin, Pastor
River of Life Church
I am amazed at the many different things people collect. From baseball cards to bugs and feathers, antique clocks, glassware, and toys, you name it, and somebody somewhere has a collection. Some of those things are just for fun and some take their collections very seriously.
Some of the things people collect can be very fulfilling and rewarding, but there are things we all have a tendency to collect that we may not even be aware of. Some of these unwanted things are offences, rejections, hurts, fears, and judgments. They can accumulate until they fill up every empty space within us.
The way we identify what is in us is to listen to what we say. Jesus said, “…out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” Matthew 12:34.
You see, in our hearts, our inner most being, is where we deposit our treasures. A treasure is something we deem valuable enough to hold onto. Otherwise we would just throw it out with the trash. There are many things people hold onto that should be thrown out in the garbage.
When someone says something against us, those offensive words enter our lives (Proverbs 18:8) and we must decide what we are going to do with them. If we choose to receive those words, they will be like seeds planted in a garden. They will begin to grow and produce the kind of fruit they contain. Bitterness will always produce more bitterness (Hebrews 12:15).
Instead of collecting junk, we should clean out the closets and empty the storage rooms within us. How?
Paul writes to the church in Ephesus and says this: “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 (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Getting rid of the stockpile of those harmful things is something we do on purpose. They just won’t go away on their own. We must identify those festering wounds and remove the infection that keeps them from healing. Forgiving someone for what they have said or done to us or those we love does not deny their culpability, but their wrong is removed out of our lives as we place their sin against us on the same cross where Jesus bore our sin. The price that was paid for our forgiveness paid for theirs, too.
Let’s start this new year with heart that is free from offense and filled with treasures of good things.