“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
We put our garbage in the back of our pick-up to take to the recycling center, but overnight it fell prey to the night foragers whose claws and teeth made short work of tearing into each bag to find some leftover crumbs to add to the evening meal. I climbed into the bed of the truck to clean up and re-bag for the trip to drop it off. I tried hard to accomplish this without actually touching something damp and gross. However, I finally had to give up and dive in with both hands. You can’t pick up garbage without getting your hands dirty.
As I went about this thankless job, I realized sin is like picking up garbage; you can’t indulge in sin without getting your hands dirty. You can attempt to daintily cover it up, like putting a torn garbage bag inside a new one, but you can’t accomplish your mission without getting your hands dirty. When we engage in sin, we try to cover it up but we can’t indulge in sin without getting our hands dirty.
We can bag trash and prepare to haul it away, but if we are not careful, what is in our bag will be exposed when we least expect it and laid bare for all to see. Even if we then cover the original bag with a new one to contain our garbage, we have to get our hands dirty. Sin is like this. We cover it up but if we are not careful, someone will expose our dirty secrets, forcing us to cover it up again, but until we haul it away–completely rid ourselves of our garbage, we run the risk of exposure again. When we find ourselves in sin we may try to cover it up but unless we get rid of it right away, we find our hands dirty again.
I personally love an object lesson and how God can turn any chore, no matter how mundane, into a spiritual insight. He is always speaking to us and teaching us, even through something as ordinary as picking up garbage.
Do you have garbage to be picked up? What keeps you from letting God bag your garbage and haul it away right now?