Our first-born is an especially diligent young man. Even when he was just a lad you could count on him to attack a job and bring it to completion. One summer afternoon I asked him to vacuum out the van. He eagerly ran, got the vacuum and an extension chord and went to work. He did a great job, but that was not the end of the story.
About six or eight days later we noticed a very unpleasant odor. It was a mystery. We could not find it. At first we thought it might have been a dead mouse or maybe road-kill out on the highway but the stench just grew stronger every day.
I was forced to investigate. (If I recall my wife was considering going to visit her mother until I solved the mystery of the wretched odor). I traced the odor to the west side of the house. We had an enclosed front porch. On the side farthest from the front door we had a huge chest-freezer full of meat. It was a little distance from the outlet so to get power to the freezer we used an extension chord. We only had one. It was the one we used to vacuum the van.
When our boy finished his job he must have been distracted by the call of the creek or the flight of a butterfly. Maybe it was his dog or his brothers or sisters, or maybe the mail ran and he was eager to get it in for mom and dad. Maybe I came along and asked him to mow the lawn. Maybe it was time for baseball practice. Maybe he could smell dinner cooking and he was eager to eat. Whatever it was that distracted him, he forgot to plug the freezer back in.
At first no one knew. At first there was little harm and little damage. Our life went on as usual. Eventually, though, the meat spoiled and ruined and rotted. The evidence of ruined meat was impossible to ignore.
At first the presence of sin unconfessed goes unnoticed. Life goes on in its normal way. But unconfessed sin is a little like a freezer full of rotten meat cooking on the porch. You can ignore it but it will not go away. Eventually it will become the biggest thing in your life. Eventually it will demand your attention. Eventually it will dominate our life.
John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus came preaching repentance. I think Peter said beautifully, “Repent and be converted that your sins will be blotted out and seasons of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord.”
Repentance is like a fresh spring breeze the blows away the foul odor of sin. What a gift repentance is! Paul wrote, “… if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (2 Timothy 2:25-26)
This evening, think on the rich privilege we have to repent. Think on what a gift repentance is. The Kingdom of Heaven is near at hand to you in your home tonight. It is as near as your eagerness to repent.
Riverfront Character Inn
March 14, 2005