March 4th 2009

Hazardous Waste

“It’s what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness- all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution.”
Mark 7:20-23 (MSG)

Weeds persist in growing through the gravel in front of our barn. There is really only one way to get rid of them. You have to poison them. So I made a trip to the farm supply store to buy some Round Up.

‘That’s expensive stuff’ said the storekeeper. ‘And you’ll have to do it again in six months.’

‘This’ – he showed me a container of yellowish liquid – ‘will kill the weed and keep the ground clear for up to 7 years. It gets right at the roots. But it doesn’t discriminate, so make sure you don’t get it where you do want things to grow.’

So I bought some of the super-pesticide, and used it according to instructions. It works-those weeds just withered. Now I have to dispose of the surplus and the container carefully, because it is hazardous waste.

Disposing of hazardous waste responsibly can be a hassle. It is tempting, when you live out in the country, to just dump it. No one would ever know. Except perhaps a deer, or a bird, or a squirrel that get themselves poisoned. So I will not be selfish. I have a responsibility to keep my little corner of the earth a safe environment for all that share it with me.

This got me to thinking about how we dispose of the spiritual hazardous waste. We all produce it, just as Jesus said we would. These unpleasant but oh-so-human behaviors have to be disposed of properly, or they can do real damage. With God’s help we can recognize them and destroy them before they take root and spread. If we don’t, they surely will. The Epistle of James reminds us: ‘For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice’. (James 3:16 NIV)

It is tempting to dump our spiritual hazardous waste in anyplace that is convenient or on anyone who will listen. When we do that, we make our little corner of the earth a less safe environment for the Holy Spirit to make things grow.

Father in Heaven, sometimes our words and actions pollute and poison our environment both physically and spiritually. Help us to clean up our act and spread holiness not filthiness.

Study by John Halford

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