A Stinking Mess

Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry—but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge. And don’t stay angry. Don’t go to bed angry. Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.

Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.

Don’t grieve God. Don’t break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted.

Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you – Ephesians 4:26-27, 4:29-32 (MSG)

 

A Father seeing the distress one of his children was enduring over a relationship called the child aside to provide guidance. The Father and child went out to the family farm’s garden. He told the child to grab an empty sack that lay sitting on a fence. They then went over to the farm’s potato patch. He instructed the son to fill the sack with the potatoes telling him “Think of all the people who have done or said something against you in the recent past, especially those you cannot forgive. For each of them, carve their name on a potato and put it in the sack.” The child came up with quite a few names, and soon the sack was full with potatoes.

“Carry the sack with you wherever you go for a week,” said the Father. At first, the child thought nothing of it. Carrying the sack was not particularly difficult. But after a while, it became more of a burden. It sometimes got in the way, and it seemed to require more effort to carry as time went on, even though its weight remained the same. After a few more days, the sack began to smell. The carved potatoes gave off a pungent and putrid odor. Not only were they increasingly inconvenient to carry around, they were also becoming rather unpleasant and extremely unsightly. Finally, the week was over. The Father sat down with his child and asked “Any thoughts about all this?” “Yes, Dad.” the child replied. “These potatoes really smell and they’re rotten and covered in mold and slime!  And I’m tired of carrying this sack everywhere I go.” The Father began to explain the exercise and lesson with the sack and the carved potatoes.  “My child, negative and prideful feelings appear OK and innocent when we pick them up, carving the names of the object of our attention into them, but they quickly turn into rotten potatoes. What seems OK, because we feel justified in our offense and hurt we feel inflicted by the other person, is anything but. “

“When we are unable to forgive others, we carry negative feelings with us everywhere we go, much like these potatoes. That negativity and spirit of destruction becomes a burden to us, and after awhile it festers and rots, becoming a slimy stinking mess. We must forgive to lighten our load, releasing that spirit of bitterness, making our lives happy, whole and free.”  said the Father. “What about the sack?” the child asked. ‘The sack is… that which allows you to hold on to the negativity and bitterness. It is something within us that makes us dwell on feeling offended. It can be our inflated sense of self-importance and pride. And if you get rid of the sack then you don’t have a place to put the potatoes. That means no more weight to carry around, and no more bad smells. The secret of forgiveness is the conscious and deliberate decision to not just remove SOME potatoes… but to relinquish the entire sack. Sometimes if we carry around the sack for too long we become used to it and the weight and stink begin to become part of us if not dealt with quickly and completely. Even worse is if we are consciously aware of the stink and decide that since the problem is so far gone we succumbed to live with it rather than take the necessary steps to clean up the rotting mess on our hands. “

“I’m always here for you wherever you go in life to remind you of the path that is free of this sack and to help you identify that if you see one conveniently laying on a fence waiting to be filled, to remind you of this lesson aiding you to decide, on purpose, to walk on by, staying free from burdens and bad smells. “

 

This is one of two stories I’ll write on this subject. I hope my thoughts being pinned help you as much as God has used them to help me. Bitterness and resentment over hurts, disappointments or the need to feel that we have been abused in life, tend to fill our sacks each and every day. Our first decision is not to have a sack to place these items of life into to begin with. I know easier said than done! Luckily if we choose to allow God’s Spirit to guide and help us heal, bringing restoration and wholeness to our lives, we will truly learn to live SACK and STINK FREE!

 

Be Forever Blessed,

Jojo

 

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