Deep Cleaning - Week of March 1st
By Judy NicholsMarch 1, 2015
There are lots of things around my house that donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get cleaned routinely. I clean the kitchen counters and table several times daily because we use them all the time. I only clean the cupboards and drawers a few times a year. Once a year I take down the curtains and wash them. And I am embarrassed to admit that there are some things, like the glass in the pictures on the walls and the knickknacks, that havenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been washed in years. And donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t even ask about the basement! My house looks pretty clean, but there really is still a lot of dirt that hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t been attended to for a long time.
As we consider the Lenten spring soul cleaning, it is worthwhile to consider the past as well as the present. Are there sins, long past, that still haunt you from time to time? Are there wounds that are still painful whenever someone or some situation gets too close to them? We all have these things and, even though they were done long ago, they can still affect us today.
Most of us have probably dabbled in occult practices Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Ouija boards, fortune telling, handwriting analysis, maybe even seances Ã¢â‚¬â€œ in our teen or young adult lives. They seemed harmless, even fun at the time, but they opened the door to SatanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s influence over us. I had my palms read when I was in high school. As I waited in line at the party, I heard the palm reader tell each person how many children they would have. When it was my turn, he said nothing about children. When I finally asked, he looked, and hesitated, and finally said, "Two." During the eight years we were infertile, that scene played itself over and over in my memory, sowing doubt and fear in my heart. And even after my, yes, two children were born it continued to cast shadows in my mind about their futures. It wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t until just a few years ago, when I verbally renounced that sin, that it lost its power over me.
There are other "sins of our youth" that can still affect us -- mind-altering substances, sexual sins and unhealthy relationships, and even morally neutral things that become idols when we use them to dull our pain or fill voids in our lives. May I encourage you to explore, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, some of those long-unused hallways of your life? Let Him show you if there are some dusty relics of your past that need to be dealt with.
Likewise, most of us have wounds from our past that are still tender, if not actively festering. Whenever we find ourselves over-reacting, we can usually trace the roots of that back to a wound or a loss that Satan has interpreted to us in ways that hold us captive. If we would recover that lost ground, we must come to grips with our losses and forgive those who have wounded us. We should not take lightly our LordÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s words at the end of the parable of the unforgiving servant. "And his lord, moved with anger, handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him. So shall My heavenly Father also do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart" (Matt. 18:34-35). Forgiving others benefits us more than it does those we forgive. It sets us free from our bondage to the sins done against us.
I could never ever deep-clean everything in my house all at once. And we can never repent every sin weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever done and forgive every offense weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve ever suffered all at once, either. But if you would hope for a cleaner heart this Lenten season, ask God, by the Holy Spirit, to bring to mind the things He would have you surrender to Him. As Paul admonished the Corinthians, "Clean out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed" (1 Cor. 5:7). Jesus paid the penalty for all our sins and bore the grief of all our offenses. May we live our lives here and now with that truth in view.