Bones under the Carpet
By Peter Lundell
My dog, Angel, probably thinks she's brilliant. Her thinking may go something like this: "I've got a great idea! Bones need to be buried, right? Every dog knows that. Why should I dig in the yard anymore? It's dirty, and my master won't let be back inside until he washes me off. I hate being washed. And besides, I usually forget where the bones are anyway. Sooo… I'll bury the bones under the carpet in his office!"
And there she is shoving those bones under the carpet. As if I'll never know. Now the carpet bulges up along the edge next to the steps down to my home office. When the dog wants to chew a bone, she just paws one out.
I've humored her and let the bones stay there. It's close enough to the stair that I won't stumble. And she doesn't dig in the yard so much any more.
It's natural for dogs to dig and hide bones. And it's natural for humans to hide things as well. I think it's fair to say that we all hide something—or perhaps 99.9 percent of us—whether our age or weight or an embarrassment or a secret sin. If you're in that 0.1 percent that hides absolutely nothing, you may skip the rest of this devotional. Have a great day.
The rest of us know that whatever we hide, we ourselves still know and carry the pain or the shame of it. And many of us know that God sees through everything anyway: "Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight" (Hebrews 4:13).
The amazing thing is how God allows us grace regarding the bones that each of us may hide under our carpet. Grace to let us pretend they're buried; grace to take them out and make things right.
God is amazingly merciful. He says things like, "I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake, and remembers your sins no more" (Isaiah 43:25). I've often marveled at how he's never zapped me with lightning or opened up a pit under my feet. Many secrets he's let stay hidden and let me work out in confession and growing in Christ.
Yet we also dare not be presumptuous about God's mercy. I cringed one day when I read Psalm 50:21: "These things you have done and I kept silent; you thought I was altogether like you. But I will rebuke you and accuse you to your face." Whoa. How often we don't admit the unspoken, even unconscious, assumption that when God does not strike us, we think he's lenient with sin.
God's grace not only covers our sin, it also exposes it. That's how we can fess up, turn from it and be free. Free so that we're not tripping over the carpets in our lives.
What bones need to come out from under your carpet?
"Lord, as the psalmist says, 'Search me, O God, and know my heart.' Thank you for your patience with me! But now heal or cleanse or convict in me whatever is not pleasing to you and is not good for me... "
Copyright © 2014 Peter Lundell. Used by permission.
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With a pastor’s heart, Peter Lundell connects people and their life issues to a real God so they can live well in the face of eternal realities. With a quarter century of missionary, pastoral, and teaching experience, he brings new perspectives to interacting with God that most people overlook. He holds an M.Div. and D.Miss. from Fuller Theological Seminary and resides in Southern California. He authors books on Christian spirituality. Visit him at www.PeterLundell.com.
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