Part of the simplifying of my life has led me to exercise more and more purging of the unnecessary from my existence. I recently discovered some uncomfortable and difficult communications, which I had saved and kept in a file folder. There was great freedom in recognizing it was part of an old battlefield in my life and I found freedom in throwing it out. On one of my old computers I used to have a junk folder where unwelcome messages that came to my computer were put until I had time to eventually examine or delete them—nowadays I have a spam folder on my computer. Some of you know how it works—and it’s a good way to minimize Email that is not relevant and in many cases a waist of your time.
It was said that President Eisenhower had a special drawer in his office for anonymous letters. When he opened a letter he immediately looked for a signature and, if there was none, he would toss the letters into his junk drawer without reading it. If you didn’t care to tell who you are then he didn’t care to read your letter—sounds like a good policy for someone with the schedule of a President. I am reminded that every once in a while our junk drawer needs to be emptied—whether it be on a computer—or in a file at home—or in our personal lives.
The concept of a junk folder has powerful meaning in the relationship with God that Jesus calls us into. If you are like me, there are all sorts of messages and memories that fill your brain—some of them are junky. We might label them guilt, regret, shame, embarrassment, or feelings of failure. Some of those messages are justified by genuine failures and sins—and others are the residue of someone else’s thoughtless actions or comments, or our own sensitivity to an issue of little import. Either way, God’s grace invites us to forgive and forget in order to move forward to a better future. Forgive yourself where you have confessed and worked for improvement—because surely God has forgiven. Forget a weaknesses or shame that you have confessed and worked through—time to permanently let go of condemnation—time to empty the junk folder over some of our thoughts, feelings, and memories that keep us from moving forward.
For the obsessive-compulsive among us there is always the tendency to go back and relive the pain. For some reason we feel compelled to retrace the steps of every stupid thing we have ever said or done. If you are one of those (as I sometimes am) follow these steps. Go to the junk folder in your brain, then click “Select All” – proceed to hit the “Delete” button. When you see “These messages will be permanently deleted. Are you sure? Y/N,” hit the “Yes” button. Then, listen to this message from God: “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Now I know that all sounds very easy and rather simplistic—and it may be easier said than done—but I am not sure I want the alternative either—a life weighed down with unwanted junk. The miracle’s of mercy can happen at the foot of His cross. He told me to tell you!