October 19, 2022

Sorting and Keeping  

Key Verse to Read and Treasure

A time to keep (Ecclesiastes 3:6, ESV)

For Insight

It’s a season for reordering our living spaces. I usually have four bins or bags when I sort. One for things I am throwing out, one for things we will keep, one for items to be given away, and the last for things I cannot decide in that moment. Our oldest daughter taught me a useful exercise for when I’m sorting and can’t make up my mind. She showed me how to take the item and hold it close to my heart. If I feel a certain attachment or something that brings joy or warmth then I should put it into my “keep” bin, but if there is no sense of attachment then I can decide between giving away or throwing away based upon the condition of the item. Sometimes something has served me well for a period but is no longer useful or needed. This practice has made it much easier to sort and know whether to keep or let go.

It’s not just material or tangible items we should sort. Sometimes this same process should be used when it comes to feelings and memories. It’s good every once and a while to examine the feelings or memories we have regarding unpleasant or hurtful events in our life. Based on my process for sorting our possessions, what bin would you place certain memories or feelings you have held onto concerning painful or hurtful events in your life? What would you take to prayer and ask God to remove from you?

Certainly, we want to keep those things that bring joy to our heart, a smile to our face or which strengthen us. Our memories and feelings should serve us in a good and positive way. They should contribute to our emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual wellbeing. But if we determine they don’t promote any good, then we should consider and be willing to toss them out.

God is a sorter. Although he could hold onto our sins, place them in a bin where he could pull them out periodically, he chooses not to do that. The prophet Micah wrote God’s compassion for us is so great he chooses to “cast all our sins into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). God sends every one of ours sins where they cannot be found. He chooses to keep the good things about us. He chooses to think on the things that are noble and display our good character and transformed heart; the things that make him smile upon us. These kinds of thoughts make God and want to bless and not destroy us. He chooses to throw out everything that would make it hard for him to love and be kind to us; anything that does not bear the mark of the cross.

If even God uses this practice when it comes to dealing with our sin, then we can do the same with memories and feelings also.   

Check Yourself

What do you do with the painful memories or emotions that drag you down or cause you to feel hopeless or depressed?

Praying Ecclesiastes 3:6

We praise you, O God for your mercy toward us! Help us to be people who can let go of the things that drag us down and burden us emotionally, mentally, relationally, and spiritually. May we be willing to sort and keep only the things that bring joy and strengthen us. Amen  

Digging Deeper

Read Micah 7:18-19

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