Cleaning the Mental Refrigerator

In church today, we played Gospel Mass by Robert Ray. It’s an excellent piece of music. Our director loves the jazzy piano part, and the singers enjoy the rockin’ gospelly riffs. As the solo flute, and not a professional musician I was a bit confused by my part, but enjoyed listening to everything from the heart of the orchestra.

But the deepest part of the day for me happened during children’s time at church when the pastor began talking about the difference between Lent and Lint. He was discussing how no matter how many times you clean the lint trap or do the dishes you have to do them again and my mind went to cleaning house…

I just had a good house-cleaning yesterday – I try to clean once a  week but it usually gets stretched out longer than that. You know, thorough moving of everything and vacuuming, counters and floors in the bathroom. I’m not the type to scrub my blinds but I do find light housekeeping satisfying, although only if I can see my progress.

But no matter how thoroughly I do it I have to do it again a couple weeks later… <sigh>…

Anyway, as I pondered the repetitive and liturgical nature of house cleaning, I thought about cleaning mental house. I had never really considered that before but sometimes we do need to sit down and go through what’s on our hearts. As Protestants we no longer do Confession and, although that’s good in it’s way, although we LIVE in grace, I somewhat miss that mandatory time to catalog my sins and be accountable to another human being.

Instead on a weekly basis as Presbyterians we have our private moment for confession and unison prayer of confession. Today I had them twice because I played in both services. With my eyes closed, I thought, before God, about all the sins sitting inside, like old food in the refrigerator – a cloudy broth of envy, a moldy block of bitterness, a sour vat of anger.

But they don’t have to sit there forever. He forgives them. He throws them away. Just like, once in  a great while, I go through and throw away all the tiny bits of leftovers still hanging out, all the mushy grapes and curdled yogurt. But if I’m willing, God will go through and clean more frequently!

No matter how thoroughly we do this (myself going through the refrigerator and he throwing sins away), we will have to do it again. As long as I’m human, envy, bitterness, anger, and other dark sins will reaccumulate on the shelves. (Just like we always have a ton of old pizza sauce when I go through the fridge. We just never use it all up!)

But he is faithful and just to forgive my sins, and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness.

I just have to take the time to go through my heart, to repent, regularly, so I don’t become overwhelmed.

Now just to clarify, I’m not talking about being “saved” over and over again. No,  I gave my life to God once and opened the door for Him to go in. Right now, I’m talking about the maintenance part of being a Christian, about confessing and repenting and keeping the lines of communication with God open.

I’m glad mental housekeeping isn’t something I have to do by myself. It’s something God will help me with, every step of the way.

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