When Zoe, our miniature schnauzer, is bored, she goes into a bathroom and roots through the trash can. Her favorite item to shred is the toilet paper someone used to blow their nose. She’ll also pull out napkins, chewed gum…basically whatever she thinks she can tear up. We’ve learned to keep our bathroom doors closed since the bathroom trash cans are the ones she raids.
Just the other day, I saw a piece of shredded napkin on the floor and started to get upset but stopped to ask myself – why? Why would she nose through smelly, nasty trash when she could chew on any of the dog toys lying around on the floor?
Why choose something trashy over something you were meant to have?
Then I realized God might ask himself this same question when His children choose sin over Him.
“My child,” He wonders, “why dig through the trash when I’ve set blessings in front of you? Why work so hard to find something sinful to fill your time when you could sit quietly at my feet and be satisfied?”
I’ve noticed that Zoe is more likely to turn to trash can looting when no one is paying her any attention. It’s like she can’t figure out what to do with herself, so she turns to the easiest thing: digging in garbage.
Isn’t that when sin creeps in on us, too? When we think no one is looking? When we’re idle? Bored? It’s much quicker and easier to turn to something sinful than to turn to something good…and I don’t even mean something extreme like turning on the computer to look at pornography…although that could be the case.
I’m talking about those things we default to when there’s a moment of idleness – scrolling Facebook or Instagram and comparing your body, house, spouse, car, job, clothes, children to what you see on your feed; jumping on Amazon and ordering the Deal of the Day just because it’s 30% off and you have Prime so shipping is free even though you know that purchase will put you over the budget you and your spouse agreed on at the beginning of the month; turning on the TV to watch that show you find so entertaining but is filling your heart and mind with thoughts that don’t glorify God.
Look, I’m talking to myself here. I’ve turned to all these things and plenty others when I didn’t want to take the time to think of something wholesome to do. When I just wanted to chill out. When I needed an activity that required no real thought or effort…just for a moment.
I promise. I’ve been there, and I’m not preaching to you or fussing at you.
But, that little moment is when sin creeps in. The jealousy. The lust. The anger. The gluttony. The laziness.
And sin is what keeps us from God.
I don’t want sin to keep me away from God. I want to be able to go to Him clean. So, I have to repent. That means that I am more than just sorry that I got caught; I am remorseful to the point of turning – away from that sin, away from that lifestyle, away from that way of thinking, away from whatever stands between God and me. I turn from that, and I look to God.
Repentance was one of the first messages Jesus taught when he began his public ministry. Both Matthew’s and Mark’s gospels record Jesus as speaking about repentance right away. So it must be important.
That means I have to do it.
That means you have to do it.
Ask God to show your sin to you. Ask Him to convict you. Then turn from that sin and go the other way…toward Him.