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Kerry Lytle

March 30, 2024

I John 1:9 New King James Version

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Once a week, a truck moves down my street, pausing at every house. Full and sometimes overflowing garbage containers are picked up, emptied into the truck, and returned to each house. During the next week, as the trash accumulates and the odor increases, we look forward to that trash being taken care of.


What's more gross than the trash at the bottom of our driveway is the personal trash that accumulates in our hearts and minds. Some of our garbage— hatred, gossip, bitterness, lust— obviously foul. But even what looks like good deeds or right behavior can wreak like garbage if contaminated by our selfish pride.


The garbage in our spirits is caused by hurt and trauma from the past and we need an inner healing or cleaning to get rid of it. Think of it like this: Rats will infest wherever garbage is present. Removing the rats will not remove the garbage but if you remove the garbage the rats will go.


Now the rats are our personal issues and struggles and the garbage the inner hurts.


You can stop the struggles for a time, but if the inner hurts remain, they will return and for this reason inner healing is so important. Inner healing is the clearing away of the garbage, the defilement, the wounds, the trauma, the unresolved issues of the heart.


And I use the word garbage because that is what these inner hurts are to our soul requiring cleansing.


The Bible calls our inner garbage “sin.” In 1 John 1:9, God’s disposal system is outlined: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Confession means calling our sins what God calls them. We shouldn't fear revealing them to Him, for He already knows them.


Thank God, His sin-disposal service is available everywhere and every day, not just at church on Sunday. He wants to get rid of your garbage. Why not let Him? The moment you confess your sins to the Lord, He casts them “into the depths of the sea.”


Think about it like this: Jesus is the garbage man (follow, me, I am going somewhere with this!) You bring Him your garbage can, full of sins. He is there, ready and waiting to collect your garbage, your sins, and take them away from you. But before you give Him the garbage to take away, you must show it to Him. You must take out the garbage, show Him every piece of garbage, and tell Him what it is and why you have it. He nods as you speak about each sin, understanding and loving, and takes it. Slowly, one by one, He takes the garbage from you and your trash can becomes lighter and lighter, until it is empty. His eyes fill with compassion and love; He is grateful and so proud of you, that you are throwing all this trash out and that you are determined to start anew. He takes the garbage from you, throws it all away, blesses you, and sends you away with a clean slate. After having all that garbage in your garbage can, it’s bound to get dirty inside. Our souls are not perfect, our slate is not completely clean because our sins have left a mark on our souls. But the garbage from your trash can is gone. Our trash cans are empty, and our souls are much lighter. His love is stronger than any sin we could ever produce. He has seen it all; from the deepest acts of depravity to the darkest of sins.


Whatever sins you have committed, Jesus has taken our garbage out. Whatever junk is weighing you down from the past, Jesus has taken our garbage out. Whatever smells from your past seem to cling to you, Jesus has taken the garbage out. Like those angels with the wings of storks who carried a big basket of iniquity with an iron lid to Babylonia, Jesus has taken your sins away!


But that’s not the only thing God wants us to learn today. He wants to drive home the truth that sin does not belong among God’s people. That Christians are to be different. That Christians are never content to live in sin. This “getting rid of sin” is an always thing. Christians are constantly striving to get rid of the sin in our lives. Like garbage that needs to be taken out every day. Christ’s forgiveness does not make sin okay. Christ’s forgiveness is what motivates us even more to rid our lives of sin. Christians are not content to live in sin.


Jesus takes our sins, throws them away like the garbage they are, and forgets them. He absolves us of our sins and gives us His blessing to continue journeying in our faith and to continue to enrich our lives and the lives of others. After the second part, we are free of those sins. They no longer belong to us. We have laid them down for the joy of our Lord. Yes, that was a reference to the song, “Trading My Sorrows.” So let us all trade our sins and sorrow!!

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