“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16 NLT)
When you get married, “morning breath” takes on a whole new meaning. All the lovey-dovey slobber-swappin’ that you did the night before pales quickly in light of the new odors that present themselves with the morning light. You’d think by now someone would have invented something you could put under your tongue or hang around your neck that would absorb all the foul odors our mouth and bodies create. Aren’t you grateful for toothpaste, mouthwash, soap, and shampoo?
Then, of course, our bodies love to share their “delightful” smells with whatever clothes we put on them, thus, the heightened value of washers and dryers. But our work doesn’t end with simply washing and drying our dirty laundry, we need to fold them and put them away. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would invent a dryer that would fold your clothes?
“Okay, Ed, thanks for the “BO” and stinky laundry lesson, but what does any of this have to do with walking with Jesus?” Actually, quite a lot. Have you ever spent an extended period around anyone with a “smelly,” negative attitude? What if it’s a spouse, parent, child, or close friend? Unfortunately, most of us are reluctant to share what’s really bothering us, even with those we love the most.
Part of the problem stems from the fact that there are times when we genuinely don’t know what’s bothering us. My wife is great about sharing her feelings, but me, not so good. By God’s grace I’m getting better, but it’s typically hard for me to pinpoint why I feel the way I do sometimes.
I’ve learned that feelings can be cyclical. What does that mean? It means that I’ll often feel bad emotionally on the anniversaries of certain events. For years around the end of July I would get moody and out of sorts. Then it would dawn on me, it was the anniversary of my divorce. The same kind of thing can happen on the anniversary of the passing of a loved one or close friend. Even the remembrance of our failures and sins can put us in a downward spiral.
It’s in those times the words of James (above) can give us guidance. Do you have someone you can trust enough to tell your darkest secrets? Yeh, I get it – they’re few and far between, but ask the Lord to give you insight into a person like that in your life. Hopefully, if you’re married, your spouse can be that kind of person for you, but if not, look for a believing friend who loves Jesus and loves you with whom you can be totally transparent.
Because “the devil is in the details,” please be careful that, if you’re a man you’re talking with another man and if you’re a woman, choose another woman. Sharing intimate things about ourselves with someone of the opposite sex can be an invitation for intimacy in other ways that would be damaging to your marriage and dishonoring to your Savior.
Ideally, a small group of like-minded men or women, or even couples, can be a blessing from heaven. The point is, we need people in our lives with whom we can air our “dirty laundry.” The longer our sins remain hidden and private, the smellier they become, often leaving us in a state of discontent that results in us repelling the very people whom we need the most.
Yes, of course, it’s vital that we confess our sins to the Lord, but often the break-through we need doesn’t come until we’re honest with someone else about our sin, shame, and guilt. And many times this can happen when we reach out to someone we’ve hurt or who has hurt us.
Food for thought.
Blessings, Ed 😊