This past week was “big trash day” here in Budapest. This day varies in different parts of the city, but when it is your residential day, you can put anything you want to get rid of on the street in front of your house and the garbage men will come and take it away. This can be as small as a used box or as big as a broken bookshelf.
Before the garbage men get there, however, there is quite a bit of foraging that takes place. For about a day and a half, various groups with trailers and piles of claimed trash were camped out on my street, waiting to make sure they looked through everything before it was taken away.
This made me think about the trash that we hoard in our own lives. Rather than giving that garbage to the Lord as it comes, or attempting to live in more “waste-reducing” ways, we often harbor our hurts, our broken and dirty things, and all kinds of junk that we shouldn’t have bought or stored.
Instead of forgiving or addressing issues as they come, we let them fester, holding grudges until the problem becomes much worse. We let words that others have said or things others have done roll around in our heads and influence how we act and how we think about ourselves.
Eventually, the waste that we have accumulated inside ourselves spills out onto the street, big, ugly, and smelly. And just as on big trash day, others come along and scrounge through that garbage, sometimes deeply affected by what we have bottled up until it explodes. Instead of the garbage men, the Lord then deals with this heap left behind, but not before it has been allowed to impact the lives of others.
Wouldn’t it be better if, instead of letting those things build up in our basements and attics, we dealt with them as they came? What if we recycled when we didn’t need something? Threw stuff away instead of putting it back in the drawer? What if we handled conflict head on and with grace? What if we forgave because the Lord forgave us, whether or not it was deserved? What if we challenged insecurities that stem from others’ words and instead built our lives on the identity of Christ?
If we do those things, handing our garbage to God daily, there is no need for a big trash day. There is no reason for people to scrounge through our piles of waste and pick up what should never be used again. Some things will be recycled and renewed and some will be cast into the pit where they belong.
“[L]et us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful” (Hebrews 10:22-23).
The Lord has washed us clean. He has redeemed us. Let us live in assurance of righteousness through him, washed with pure water, not drowning in refuse. Let us eradicate the need for big trash day.