Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "His Eye Is On The Sparrow"1 (Lyrics)
I was amazed the first time I saw it. I imagined I never would, but I did.
My brother and I had recently started backcountry camping. Our first trip found us with cheap sleeping bags that delivered only shivers. So we visited a reputable camping catalogue and upgraded.
When my six-foot-one-inch bag arrived, it was stuffed in a two foot sack. I removed it, relishing the fact that I would never be cold again. What I didn't understand was how six feet could stuff into two. Initially, it sprung out as quickly as I stuffed. Eventually, I learned to stuff a little at a time.
Stuffing is necessary when backpacking a sleeping bag; otherwise it takes all available room. Stuffing our sins, however, is deadly. John says:
1 John 1:8 – If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. (NIV)
Admitting what we don't like about ourselves is difficult but essential.
1 John 1:9 – If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (NIV)
Stuffing is a paraphrase for repression, and it's dangerous emotionally, physically, and spiritually. But if you're like me, I don't much enjoy admitting mistakes. It's easier to transfer the blame to someone else. It's more convenient to talk about others' faults than to admit that I have the same ones (read "projection"). It's safer to kick the cat than to tell my boss how I really feel (read "displacement").
But stuffed stuff comes out, normally at unexpected times or in a way that embarrasses us. Blowing my top over an insignificant comment that my wife made will probably confuse her. Stuff has a habit of unstuffing after we've stuffed too long. We tire of the effort and of biting our tongue.
Allowing ourselves to feel emotions is healthy. And regularly confessing our sins to God and keeping open lines of communication with others will keep the volcanoes in check. It's better to clear our consciences than stack skeletons.
Prayer: When stuffing seems the easy way out, Lord, motivate us to be honest with You and others. Amen.