Yesterday was kind of rough emotionally for a variety of reasons.  One situation that was difficult was kind of juvenile but I learned a lesson from it this morning.  Our cul-de-sac is too small for the bin men to get their lorrie in to collect the garbage so we all have to wheel our bins to the street.  Some have theirs marked with their house number on them.  Ours does not yet have a number.  There is at least one other family who have not yet marked theirs but I do not know who they are.  Yesterday, after the recycling was picked up, someone took our bin and theirs was left for us.  How do I know?  Because I am very careful not to put garbage in our recycling bin so as not to contaminate the materials that can be used again.  Breckland Council has been very specific as to making sure everyone knows that even a little bit of household garbage can contaminate the whole load.  When I opened the bin, there was a putrid liquid inside and what looked like spaghetti sauce down one of the inside walls.  This looked more like a garbage bin than a recycling.  There were soaked papers in the bottom.  I was very angry about the situation because I was stuck with a bin that needed cleaning out and it wasn't even our bin.  I wasn't sure whose bin it was as there were two other possibilities.  There was nothing to do but to clean this one out, which I did very quickly and angrily.  I was upset because our hose is not yet hooked up.  I had to clean it out with a broom, paper towels, and cleaning spray.  It was smelly and gross but the only way to get to the bottom was to crawl partway inside (after cleaning as far down the sides as I could get ).   I knew my anger was justified but, at the same time, felt pretty silly for getting so worked up about a bin.  "But it's not my garbage!  Why should I have to clean it up?!" I thought.  Those words have now come back to haunt me.  This morning's devotional really came to life in light of my thoughts and feelings yesterday.  
"For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."  2 Corinthians 5:21
The fact that Christ carried to the cross all our dirty, filthy sins so that we can be cleansed is even more sobering to me this morning.  Here I was grouching and complaining about cleaning up someone else's mess and stewing about how unfair it was when I know that my own sin was heaped upon a guitless man so that I can stand blameless in front of a Holy God.  How putrid and foul was our sin to Jesus who was not at all to blame.  Yet He went willingly and without complaint because of His great love for us.  Perhaps that is what I was missing the whole for others.  No, it wasn't fair  to leave me a dirty, smelly bin in place of my brand new one.  However, in the grand scheme of things, it's not that big a deal and my love for my neighbor should have enabled me to look past the infraction.  How many times has someone else had to clean up after me?  How many times have I made the Lord sad with my sin?  

Lord, please forgive me for my self-righteousness that must be a foul odor to you.  Cleanse me and make me new...let my actions toward others around me be sweet and fair.  Give me a forgiving heart like yours.  Please help me to love my neighbors and see them through Your eyes.  

Garbage Lesson
written and put on website
6 Apr 2005
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