This is the time of year when I'm holed up in my house thinking about cleaning. You know, the basement, the kitchen drawers?and the front closet.
Yuck. It's the closet that holds all the junk I don't need but can't seem to part with. Two stadium blankets we received as wedding presents almost 20 years ago that have never been used. Snow boots three sizes smaller than my oldest child's feet and five sizes too big for my youngest. A filthy mop I used in another house but haven't touched since moving here.
It's junk I'd be embarrassed by if someone opened the closet door. Junk I don't need but can't seem to live without. There's a monster in the closet!
Tucked away in a corner of our spiritual lives is the same kind of closet. In the darkness hide closet sins that we don't need but can't seem to live without. Envy of a neighbor's new mini-van. Greed for more money so we can buy more stuff. Oversensitivity that majors on the minors in relationships and leaves us clutching a shallow grudge. Apathy in place of a once-vibrant faith. Impatience with potty accidents, spilled apple juice, hand prints on windows and mud tracked over just-mopped floors. Hatred toward a husband who works long hours and then refuses to connect when he comes home.
This isn't fun stuff, is it? And so into the closet it goes. Out of sight, out of mind. But not out of life.
"Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account" (Heb. 4:13).
At first that thought is terrifying. When I picture God as the Judge examining all the closet junk in my life, I'm certain he'll slice me to pieces! I bristle in defense. But when I consider the grace of God and his act of sacrifice on the cross for me, I soften and yield. Before whom else can I reveal my sin? He sees all of me, closet or no closet, and he loves me still.
There's a monster in the closet, and we put it there so we won't have to face the challenge of removing it from our lives. It's our compromise at doing things God's way. It's our leverage to maintain some say in life. And yes, when I admit it to myself, it's my refusal of God's grace.
God has the power to vanquish the monster in our closets. The question for us remains: Do we want the monster gone, or do we prefer to leave it dormant within?
The Lord is waiting. Will you open the door and let him in?
Elisa Morgan, M.Div., is president of mops (Mothers of Preschoolers) International. Her most recent book is A Mother's Touch (Zondervan). Elisa lives in Colorado with her husband, Evan, and their two children. For information about a MOPS group in your area, call 800-929-1287.