Friday, January 15, 2016

Addressing the Root Problem of Our Sin

Taken from

By Joe Dallas

Years ago, I leased office space in a charming, old historical building in our city. It was a three-story affair with nooks and crannies everywhere, including a basement and, beneath the basement, a crawlspace for storage. Several different counselors and attorneys practiced there, and all of us were proud of the building's rustic charm.

Until the day we walked in and got a whiff of something indescribably nauseating. We couldn’t tell where it was coming from, but it permeated the place. We opened all the windows to air the rooms out, then searched every bathroom and trash can in the building to find whatever it was that was causing such a stink.

No luck. We sprinkled scented dust on the carpet to mask the odors, which got stronger as the day progressed, and by the next morning, we seriously feared our clients would refuse to come in until we got rid of that smell.

By then, it was obvious to us it came from the basement. Worse yet, it came from the crawlspace under the basement, a tiny area that was dark and mysterious. None of us wanted to crawl under there and see what the problem was, so we endured another two days of the smell until there was no choice but to pay someone to dive into that dark place and locate the problem.

We hired a handyman, who solved the mystery. A stray cat had found its way under the house and, for whatever reason, had died there. The carcass was the problem which, when removed, solved the problem of the odor.

A man’s heart can also be a dark, scary place. Jeremiah described it this way; "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. Who can know it?" (Jeremiah 17:9) Deep resentment, old wounds, and unspoken fears can lodge deep in the heart, hiding and festering. They, too, can give off an odor through a man’s behavior and attitude.

The behavior may really stink, causing people to notice and demand he do something about it. And he may, by stopping the behavior without addressing the problem of the heart that led to it. But that’s what we did when we sprinkled the scented powder on the carpet, only to find it could mask the odor, but not eliminate it.

By all means stop the acting out. It's unacceptable and is, in and of itself, a huge problem. But it may also be the symptom of a larger, more deeply hidden problem as well. If so, you'll never solve it without taking some time to dive into that uninviting crawlspace and deal with the carcass that's stuck inside.


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