The story has been told of a mental hospital that, many years ago, came up with an unusual test to determine whether their patients were ready to go back into the world.
They brought the patient who was ready for release into a room where a water faucet was left on, so that the sink overflowed and was pouring water all over the floor. Then, they handed the patient a mop and told them to mop up the water. If the patient had enough sense to turn off the faucet before mopping up the water, they were ready to be released. But if, as was the case of many, the patient started mopping while the water was still flowing over the sink, they kept that patient for more treatment.
As Christians, all of us live in a less-than-perfect world. We are less than perfect ourselves. We bemoan the violence and lack of respect for life. We cringe at the constant reports of murder, theft or corruption. And at the same time, we know that our lives display evidence of greed, arrogance and deceit. But, like the patients in the mental hospital, until we deal with the source of the evil, we cannot make any real progress in our efforts to defeat it.
Like the old cartoon character, Pogo, said, “We have met the enemy, and it is us.”
Until we recognize that our own lives are just as sin-filled as those more obvious sinners we see on the evening news… and until we admit that we, too, need to deal with our own sin before we try to mop up the mess everyone else is making, we cannot expect life to get any better.
Jeremiah 17:9 reminds us that “the heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, who can know it?”
We have to confess the sin in our own lives before we can condemn the sin in someone else’s. We need to deal with the source of sin — our own corrupted heart — before we can hope to clean up the mess in the world around us.
Confess your sin to God today. Ask for forgiveness. Ask Him to make radical changes in your life today. The sooner we humble ourselves before God, the sooner we can begin to clean up the mess.
Pastor Larry Wise
Highland Community Church