I love living in the country. My kids play in the yard and I don’t worry about them. When I get the urge to get away, I can walk through my backyard and around fields without interruption. If my neighbors fight and get into legal trouble, I’ll probably never be called as a witness! As my friends in Guatemala would say it, “Amen y Amen.”
However, there are some things I’ve learned about living in the country that I didn’t expect. Every winter we have a mass of rodents that believe I’ve fixed up my old house, so that they can live in it. Groundhogs, check. Raccoons, check. Mice, check. Squirrels, check. As it turns out, the country has turned me into a killer.
I’ve hidden in bushes with my .22 laying in wait for critters to emerge from my foundation. I’ve trapped rodents in my attic with cages. I’ve even plummeted into the disgusting depths of my very narrow crawlspace with a shovel, hoping to battle it out with a massive coon. As shocking as it is to me, even my wife has developed an instant “what have I won?” face when she hears the snap of mousetraps.
Despite all of that, it’s the squirrels that drive me nuts. Punny, I know. In the middle of the night, I can hear these things crawling around in walls of my bedroom closet. That’s where they play squirrel games and have little nocturnal squirrel raves when I’m trying to sleep.
One night, while sleepless in my bed, I pondered the term “skeletons in the closet.” Isn’t it odd that we would use a skeleton, something dead and gone, as a symbol for past sins? The term was first used in Britain around the 1800’s, but where it came from specifically no one knows.
What’s interesting is that the inanimate object, a skeleton, seemingly lays dormant and unthreatening unless exposed… but, that’s not how sin really works. Sins don’t just sit idly by until someone digs them up. It’s the opposite.
Past sins act more like squirrels in the closet. They dig, claw and disrupt our peace until, at last, they’re addressed. Sure, we wrap pillows around our heads, hoping to drown out the scratching for moments of silence. We put our attention elsewhere to distract us from the noise. We can even grow somewhat used to the “scratching” after long exposure. All of these offer only momentary peace.
We’re going into a new year. It’s time to put past sins behind us and move forward in peace. God offers forgiveness to those who earnestly repent of wrongdoings. Who other than God could help us resolve past sins and separate them from us “as far as the East is from the West?”
On the other side of a repentant heart is peace. Bring your heart to God.