We moved into a new house a few weeks ago. One of my favorite things about it is enjoying all the new furniture we got to furnish it. We had lived for 13 years in a house that had a sleeping loft, so we ‘climbed’ into our bed at night – which was a mattress on the floor in the loft. So now we have a ‘real’ bed and nightstands and I’m loving every minute of it.
But it all got ruined a few days ago when my son found a spider in my nightstand drawer. The very drawer I had been rummaging around in just a couple of hours earlier. It was not a baby spider either. It was a full-grown nasty looking spider (not that any are cute in my opinion) with horrible intentions I’m sure. Armed with some cleaning spray (because who has spider-killing spray on hand right after a move?) and many paper towels, I successfully sent our spider friend to the great beyond.
Unfortunately the spider incident didn’t stop there. The whole ordeal ruined my thought process for several days. Later in the day I found some bug defense spray and circled the outdoors around our bedroom, windows, and sliding glass door. I sprayed behind my nightstand. I dutifully checked the bed sheets before I got into bed that night. I carefully rummaged the rest of the way through my drawer to make sure he didn’t have any friends in there. I had the worst case of heebie jeebies ever. I was seeing and feeling spiders everywhere. Every loose hair and piece of fuzz became my enemy. I checked and double checked the drawer with bright light each time I had to open it. At night I was sure when I awoke I would see our spider friend’s brother or best friend staring at me.
To say I was creeped out was an understatement. It was a full-blown case of overreacting. Then just a couple of days later I had a conversation with a friend who was having trouble with the same thing. Her case of overreaction was far more serious though. There was some sin in her life many years ago that kept bothering her. The sin had been confessed and forgiven, but the effects of it were ever before her. She would see the same kind of sin on the streets or on TV and it would come steal her joy all over again. She would try to fill her mind with Scripture and devotions, but the thoughts of her past sin kept pressing in. And like most things, it was worse at night. “It’s hard to think it’s been forgiven because I keep thinking about it.” And I was selfishly thinking, “I know. I killed that spider, but I keep thinking,’Maybe he survived and will come back and bite me for revenge.’ “
Just like a spider’s web, the web of sin and darkness is complicated. We certainly don’t think at the time of giving in what a mess it will create. And since our minds don’t process forgiveness the same way God forgives, we relive it over and over again. The NLT version gives us a clear picture… “I – yes, I alone – will blot our your sins for my own sake and will never think of them again.” Isaiah 43:25. If only we could do the same.
So what are we to do? The only consolation I could offer my friend was to use every remembrance of the sin as a chance to connect with God. Call on His promises each time. And as much as possible, set up our defenses. Fill the cobwebs of our minds with the sweeping power of God’s Word. Guard our surroundings with songs of praise and worship. Keep in close contact with Godly people who will encourage us and pray with us. And let us practice what the word ‘forgive’ means in Greek -release and leave it alone, remembering we will have to do it over and over again.