A few years ago, we purchased a beautiful antique dining table in Germany. It had been obtained from a farmer in southern Germany, transported to northern Germany where it was completely disassembled and refinished. I had never seen a more beautiful dining table and chairs. It was immediately put in a container headed for the states as we were moving belongings back to America from a lengthy stay in Germany.
Several years later, I noticed dustings under some of the chairs. I shrugged it off as we had just had all the family – including grandchildren – in our house and thought what I was seeing were crumbs from the table. Upon closer inspection when I was polishing the chairs, however, I discovered holes throughout the wood on several of the chairs. What we had was an infestation of wood bores which had lain dormant all that time and now were making their way through that lovely wood.
After much labor (and cost, I might add), we finally got the problem licked. However, much to my dismay after quite a bit more time passed, I found the remaining chairs with those telltale holes. We are going to have to go through this procedure all over again. What I thought had been resolved now has to be dealt with once more – what a shame.
Irritations, guilt, bitterness and other stress causing situations in our lives can have some very similar effects. Like wood bores, some things eat at our insides for years without our even realizing it. They may go unrecognized, but they are just as real as my wood bores. By the time they surface, often the damage is done. I suppose the only remedy is to stay on top of our feelings and give them over to God right at the beginning of the uncomfortable event. God tells us to put away those things that are hurtful. We will certainly deal with them at some point. It is better to deal with them early on than to wait until damage is done and repairs have to be made.
Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice (Ephesians 4:30-31). Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation (1 Peter 2:1-2).