Taking out the trash when we lived in the city was simply a matter of rolling the receptacle 40 feet to the curb. Now as a county resident with a house 400 feet from the road, the trash goes in the back of the SUV, and I drive it to the container.
On a recent and short trip to Nashville, my wife discovered, as we were taking the bags out of the car, that I had forgotten to stop and dump the trash. After we finished laughing about carrying that huge bag of trash with us, I asked the hotel manager for permission to use their dumpster. She graciously agreed, biting her lip to keep from laughing.
What’s not so funny is all the garbage we accumulate in our hearts throughout our lives. Trash in the car is kind of gross, and if forgotten would certainly begin to smell, but trash in the human heart is smelly, but also destructive and deadly. I remember the story of the little boy who put limburger cheese on the mustache of his napping grandpa. He awoke, sniffed the foul odor and declared, “This room stinks.” He then went to kitchen and exclaimed, “The kitchen stinks too.” Barreling outside to get some relief from the stench, the old man growled, “The whole world stinks.”
In reality, the source of the smell wasn’t the room, or the kitchen, or the world. The source of the smell was literally right under his nose. It’s the same way with our hearts. If we’re not careful, we’ll walk around in life with a lousy attitude thinking life stinks, playing the blame game, and taking no responsibility for where we are in life. The real source of the foul odor, however, is the trash we are carrying in the trunk of our hearts.
Some people carry around the trash of wounds and offenses. They just refuse to forgive and release others from real or perceived hurts. Others have become jaded by the garbage bullying and criticism they received from people, often by people that should be encouraging and supportive. Still other people are can’t get past the the rubbish of failures and regrets in life forgetting that every day is a new opportunity in the Lord. Weighed down by the slop of sins and various strongholds, some people have lost the sweet aroma of Christ.
Let me encourage you to stop riding around in life with a heart full of garbage. The longer you keep it, the more your attitude is going to stink. Do a daily trash dump by forgiving others, by understanding the only opinion that matters in life is God’s opinion, by realizing failure is not final, and by confessing and repenting of your sin when you blow it. God’s mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23) so be sure to extend that mercy to others and to yourself every day. Life’s just better without trash in the trunk.