All that is what I picked up on the west side of our property one morning last week, blown over the fence from the neighbors’ since my last pick-up two weeks before. You would think their place would look a little better after losing all that, but it didn’t even make a dent. I have mentioned them before. These folks must believe that life comes with a built-in maid service. If it does, theirs needs to be fired. Whatever it is they believe, they don’t believe they have the responsibility to clean up their own messes.
As much as we like to think we are so much better than that, we often are not. We may not litter the landscape with fast food wrappers and everyday rubbish, but we often leave spiritual and emotional messes in our wake. Broken trust, tattered relationships, bitter disappointments and battered feelings can mark our paths when sin affects our lives. A few unguarded words can hurt instead of heal. A self-centered attitude can trample a heavy heart. Self-righteousness, because of its exaggerated sense of absolutes and conviction in its own virtue, can mercilessly beat a weak soul into giving up the fight.
My neighbors never seem to notice the mess they leave, the cumulative effect of dropping whatever is in hand simply because that is the convenient way to take care of it. I am even worse when, in my headlong rush to please myself or pass judgment, I fail to take the time to stop and look behind. The pieces of souls marking my path should wake me up. They are far more damning than a whole dumpster full of Twinkie wrappers.
What unto me is the multitude of your sacrifices? says Jehovah: I have had enough of the burnt-offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. When you come to appear before me, who has required this at your hand, to trample my courts? Wash yourself, make yourself clean; put away the evil of your doings from before my eyes; cease to do evil; learn to do well; seek justice, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow… Turn to your God: keep kindness and justice, and wait for your God continually... If you had known what this means, I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless. Isa 1:11,12,16,17; Hos 12:6; Matt 12:7.
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