Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The Power of Forgiveness (Part 5)

Cleaning House

In Matthew's Gospel (12:43-45) Jesus talks figuratively about cleaning house. Let's listen.

“When an unclean spirit has gone out of a man, he passes through waterless places seeking rest, but he finds none. Then he says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ And when he comes he finds it empty, swept, and put in order. Then he goes and brings with him seven other spirits more evil than himself, and they enter and dwell there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first." 

We all know that once you clean your house it only stays clean for a little while and the dirt magically returns again. You've got to continue to clean your house if you want it to stay clean. In the same way, we've got to continue to clean our hearts and souls of the dirt that piles up inside. The dirt in our hearts and souls are "evil spirits." They're the bad, sinful, self-indulgent behaviors in our lives. It could be addictive behaviors such as smoking, drinking, drugs, or over-eating. In our case let's call the "evil spirit" holding on to anger and resentment, or our inability to forgive others. When we try to rid ourselves of our destructive behaviors (cleaning house), we'll always be vulnerable that they'll return again in force. If you're an ex-smoker or drinker, you know you're one cigarette or one drink away from getting re-addicted. If you've struggled with your weight, you know you're one piece of candy away from regaining all your weight and then some. In the same way, if you've been accustomed to holding on to anger and resentment, then you're just one insult away from an unforgiving heart. Practicing forgiveness is like keeping our house clean. It takes work, but the payoff is a clean and tidy house you can live in.

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