The Trash Cycle

By: Pastor Jarren Rogers

“The way of sin is down-hill; a man cannot stop himself when he will. Suppress the first emotions of sin, and leave it off before it be meddled with.” – Matthew Henry

I have a problem with trash in my car. It usually goes like this:

It begins with a gum wrapper. I crumple it up and toss it into the cup holder and go about my business. The next day I grab a Snickers bar after lunch. Once I’ve finished it, I drop the chocolate-coated wrapper into the cup holder to join the gum wrapper. And so, the pattern continues. I add bits and pieces of trash, straw wrappers, and used napkins to the pile until my cup holder is overflowing with trash.

At this point, it’s spilled into the other cup holder. Some of it has tumbled to the floor or gotten lost in between the seats. Candy that somehow made it out of the trash pile is now ground into the carpet.

But everything changes when my wife slips into the passenger seat. I feel guilty about how messy my car has become. Suddenly, my mess takes on a whole different perspective.

It is then that she directs me to the car wash. My wife gathers up handfuls of my wrappers, napkins, and old candy, and throws them in the big trash cans. Then, we take turns using the outdoor vacuums, running them up and down the carpets, between the seats, and in the cup holders. Careful not leave behind a crumb. Then, so the outside matches the cleanliness of the inside, we drive through the car wash.

I look at how clean my car has become and I am thankful for it, remembering how messy it had gotten and how my wife helped me make it clean again. I promise myself and my wife that I will never let it get that bad again.

The next week, on my way to work, I pull out a piece of gum, unwrap it, and throw the wrapper in the cup holder. The cycle begins again.

You see, sin is a lot like the trash that fills that cup holder. It always begins slowly, maybe in a small way. We know what we did was bad and we vow never to do it again. But the next day or week we find ourselves, once again, falling into the same trap.

That sin builds up and grows like a snowball tumbling down a snow-covered hill. What we had thought was a “small sin” has grown into a huge, terrible, sin-saturated life.

It isn’t until Jesus enters into the picture that we feel the guilt of what we’ve done.

But he doesn’t leave us in our sin. He picks up handfuls of our sin, throws it out, and forgets it. He cleanses us completely and removes our guilt and our shame.

The question is this:

Will you let the cycle continue?

Parents: Ask your children what sin is. Have a conversation with them about how sin can be a slippery slope. Tell them that God wants to remove their sin and guilt from them.

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