Skeletons in my Closet
Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.
When my daughter was young, I enjoyed hiding in her room as she got ready for bed. While she was in the bathroom, I would go into her closet, turn off the light, close the door, and wait. I never jumped out to scare her, however; it was much more fun to sit quietly and wait for her to muster the courage to open the door to see if I was there. For me, it was a fun daddy-daughter moment I enjoyed immensely. In retrospect, she probably enjoyed the game much less than I did, and my nighttime ritual is probably one of the many fatherly faults that will haunt me on Judgment Day.
In truth, I have a closet full of scary things. It is not a typical closet, for there are no piles of clothes, monsters, or dust bunnies lurking behind its closed door. The skeletons residing in the deep, dark recesses of my consciousness are demons of my own making – hurtful decisions, selfish actions, and cruel words I have uttered over the course of my life. I would like to say the many piles of bones residing therein are old and dusty, but they are not. I add to the pile with discouraging regularity. Whenever I do or say something I know is beneath the expectation for a child of God, I throw it into my private closet and slam the door shut, hoping no one else notices. Perhaps it is an affront to my fragile ego to admit that I am less than perfect, or that I might be the cause of another person’s pain. Of course, such disappointment is a weakness I share with the rest of humanity.
Halloween is the time of year when we pull skeletons and other scary things out of storage and put them on display. Somehow, when that which scares us is brought into the light – such as when my daughter opened the door and turned on her closet light – things are not nearly so frightening. My faith tells me God will forgive me of my skeletons – every one of them. However, I must first let them go. I need to bring them out, own and acknowledge them, and turn them over to God. That is repentance, and God relieves us of the burdens we repent. No one, including God, can forgive that which we will not release.
Come home to church this Sunday. Leave the skeletons in your closet at the cross.