Yesterday was interesting. It was spent largely trying to help clear out a house before it is handed back to the Landlord and Landlady. I found myself ferrying rubbish bags and other larger items to the large industrial style wheelie bin which was part of the housing complex. There I dutifully put the rubbish into the bin. After several such journeys I was slightly thrown when I saw some of the rubbish I had disposed of piled up on my route to the bin. “I’m sure I’ve already thrown that away” I thought to myself. I then saw a gentleman carrying another armful of previously disposed of rubbish and dumping it on the floor. Some papers swirled around and blew away and the heavy stuff lay forlorn on the concrete.
“I am sorry” I said. “Is there a problem?” The gentleman informed me in no uncertain terms that there was indeed a problem. I had been placing rubbish in the bin belonging to his section of flats and the one I should have been placing it in was a good 30 metres away around another corner. I expressed my apologies and said he really didn’t need to empty the bin because I would be very happy to remove the rubbish from the incorrect bin to place in the correct one and that he had only needed to alert me. In all honesty I can’t say that this made his day, or that he was any happier. I guess he must have an ongoing problem with people filling his rubbish bin with their rubbish. I might feel exactly the same in his position.
Anyway, it got me thinking just a little. In life it is not entirely unusual for us to find that rubbish can mount up within us. Maybe something bad from the past hangs around our lives and constantly upsets us. Perhaps life seems to have been particularly hard and left a trail of destruction in our lives which never quite seems to be sorted out and cleared up. In spiritual terms we might say that there can be a tendency for the rubbish of sin to clog up our lives and what on earth does one do with sin? I guess sometimes we try to dump it somewhere out of sight in the hope that it will be out of mind – almost! Perhaps we push it to the deepest darkest parts of our mind. Things we have done or not done, hurts we have caused, the piercing nasty thoughts or the pointed deliberate actions. Many people will know what I am talking about for they have carried the rubbish around within for a long time. And then when we try to get rid of it, like a boomerang, or like the rubbish I tried to through away yesterday, it seems to keep appearing before our very eyes again.
My problem yesterday with the material rubbish I was trying to dispose of was that it was going in the wrong place. Maybe that is what happens with our lives too in relation to the deep hurts we have received or sin we have committed. Perhaps we try to deal with it our way, but it needs dealing with God’s way. God’s way is of course through Jesus. It was he that died on a cross and as he did so he was in some way (and there are many theories of how) dealing with that sin and taking it into a rubbish dump where it could be got rid of forever.