Collecting All the Wrong Things
I am keenly aware of my tendency to collect things. Not actual collectable items, but useless things. Junk. Old receipts, random slips of paper with unreadable messages scrawled in hasty handwriting, and mysterious keys that don’t seem to open any known doors. Basically I’m afraid to get rid of anything in case I need it in the future.
What if I throw away that grocery receipt but then suddenly need to know how much money I spent on apples six week ago?
Digitally speaking, I also keep way more than I need to or should. It seems like have 15 different versions of every graphic I’ve ever created, and pretty much every audio file of every service we’ve recorded since 2009. This all came to a head this week when my computer started overheating and running slow. I didn’t know what the problem was until I received and error message saying my storage was full-to-bursting, and that’s when I knew it was time to purge.
When sorting through my computer files I realized it’s not just useless things I hang on to. I also hold on to hurtful things. In the midst of collecting all the things I thought I needed to keep, I ended up collecting a lot of terrible things. Emails sent by people who were unhappy with something I did. Letters sent by people who chose to be unkind rather than understanding.
Why did I keep them? What purpose do they serve as they sit on my laptop?
They show me that I was right.
They assure me that I was wronged.
They encourage me to be stubborn.
I re-read these old letters and emails, and do you know what happens? I re-live my irritation. Then my irritation leads to anger, and my anger leads me to no good place.
Galatians 5:19–21 says: Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
I find it humbling that the Word of God puts anger, strive, dissensions and divisions on the same level with sorcery and orgies. And to harbour those kind of heart-sins creates a separation between myself and God that is irreparable apart from the forgiveness found in Jesus Christ.
So this week, as I deleted 2000 flyers of past events from my computer and moved 12 years of audio files onto an external hard drive, I took the time to delete the letters I had been collecting and then confessed my sins of strife and anger. Not only did I free up a lot of space on my computer, I also freed my heart from the prison of irritation. Yes, prison.
You see, my irritation had imprisoned me and kept me from fully and freely experiencing the benefits of being a Kingdom citizen while here on earth.
Rather than shown to be right I want to be shown to be kind. I want to be assured that God is on the throne, and I want to be encouraged by what God is doing in me and through me.
Are you hanging on to something that is creating enmity between you and the Lord? Delete it. Confess it. Throw it away and get it out of your life. Your sins will be forgiven and your joy will be restored.