When I was in college, my roommate came home exuberant from the grocery store, having purchased an entire chicken for $1. Now, while I am certainly aging, I am not old enough for chicken to have cost $1. There were two reasons for this “great buy.” The first was the chicken was un-butchered, still containing all the entrails. The second was that it was, shall we say, past its prime. It was already turning colors and clearly was little more than garbage. I told me roommate to pitch it before it stunk up the room, to which he agreed. Fast forward a few weeks, and our room suddenly became un-livable. Now, I understand male dorm rooms by their very nature stink, but this was a whole other level. I seriously thought we needed to get a hotel room. Conducting a thorough search of the room, I finally discovered the culprit: the festering remains of the $1 chicken were still in the friend’s fridge! After some choice words I finally got him to take out the trash, and within a few days our room was livable again.
I share that story because we often “stink” at removing the trash from our lives and relationships. We hold onto to grudges, remember how we were wronged, get upset when we are slighted, etc. What happens when we do this is very similar to that chicken: the problem festers and begins stinking up both our relationships and our life in general. Look at the advice Paul gives us in Colossians 3:
12 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Colossians 3:12-15
This is an amazing recipe for every type of relationship: your marriage, your children, your neighbors, your co-workers, etc. Look especially at verse 13: bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. A key to any relationship is taking out the trash. It’s about admitting when we are wrong and forgiving others when they are wrong. It’s about addressing problems in love instead of just hiding them away in the corner (or the fridge). Are you taking out the trash in your relationships, or is it starting to pile up? Do you have a growing pile of smelly sins you need to be asking forgiveness for? Or, maybe you need to be the one forgiving the wrongs of others, helping them to take out their trash. Don’t let wrongs, mistakes, and sins stink up your relationships and life. Commit to following the Bible’s advice, and Christ’s example, by confessing and forgiving in love.