February 23, 2017
Volume 21, Number 8
Connor Cox is like any other college student who lives away from home. When a package arrives in the mail, he’s eager to get into it. One of the two packages he received the other day at Westminster College (New Wilmington, PA) was what he hoped it would be: the proverbial “care package” filled with food and other goodies. The other box left him puzzled; it was filled with garbage.
He phoned his mother to tell her about her mistake. But it was no mistake. “No, that’s the trash you were supposed to take out” on a recent visit home. He didn’t dispose of it when he should have, so it followed him to school.
Connor reportedly enjoyed his mother’s not-so-subtle message, as do most of us who read about it. But how many others are haunted by “garbage” from their past? Employers, we’re told, frequently go to Facebook to check out potential employees. Something posted on that site years ago may still be open to public view. One’s less inhibited moments – garbage – may now keep them from landing that job.
Which of us doesn’t have some sort of baggage / garbage that could potentially return to haunt us at sensitive moments? Jesus challenged a woman’s accusers in John 8:7: “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Paul helped each of us answer Jesus’ challenge by writing this in Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”
This helps explain why forgiveness is something we appreciate. Can the past be forgiven? Absolutely; this has always been God’s desire: “For as the heavens are high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:11,12).
People, however, are not always so ready to close the door on our past. Though we may have been forgiven for past actions, others may be more than ready to dredge it up. Even Christians fall victim to this temptation to air the dirty laundry of others.
Love “bears all things”, Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 13:7. To understand what Paul meant, think of the scene we find in Mark 2:4: Friends of a man who was paralyzed “uncovered” the roof of a house so they could lower their friend into Jesus’ presence. The Greek word for “uncovered” uses the root word for love “bearing” all things.
If I love another, I will not “uncover” another’s past (assuming that sin has been forgiven by the Lord). My love for them will “cover” their forgiven sin.
If I have love, your past is safe with me. Your garbage will not show up to haunt you.
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
Copyright, 2017, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).
“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.