Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Forgiveness & Dirty Diapers

“The Old Man collected dirty diapers – not clean diapers, dirty diapers. Some were antique; some fresh. They came in all sizes and smells. He knew the contents of each one. His favorite diapers filled a backpack that he wore everywhere he went. He kept these especially close to him for continual review. The not-so-favorite ones he brought out occasionally, and lined them up on the counter. Looking at the array, he remembered the time he collected each one. He could almost give the date, the hour, and the place where he found each soiled rag. The newest diapers were disposable, but to him, they were keepers. The Old Man spent many happy hours…well, you couldn’t call they happy hours…yet, he found some strange enjoyment in reviewing his collection.

When he met someone from his past, he would rummage through his pack. Next, he pawed through his pile on the table. Finally, if need be, he tunneled into his storehouse in the garage until he found one of their old diapers. Sometimes he put it right up to their face for a good look and a not-so-good smell. The previous owners usually didn’t even recognize it. But the Old Man knew whose it was. His memory failed him on many occasions, but never when it came to the source and description of his diapers. Even after sixty years he could describe them as if he had obtained them yesterday. His collection was impressive for its completeness. You could mention almost anyone alive, and he had one that once belonged to them.

The Old Man, his house, his clothes, and his car all smelled alike. Some folks could manage to endure a few minutes with him. Most avoided even a casual conversation. He grew lonely. In his loneliness, the diaper collection became more valuable than ever.

Does this man seem strange to you? He should. But don’t be too hard on him. You may have a secret diaper collection of your own.

Parents use diapers for babies that do not control themselves. They desire a clean and pleasant removal of a distasteful product. The purpose is to remove the offensive material quickly.

Many people have little control over themselves when it comes to foolish thoughts, words, and actions. People without self-control speak sharply to you. They steal your property. They lie to you. They come into your life, offend you, and then walk out. They leave behind a mess, just like a dirty diaper. What do you do when that happens? Do you save their offense to think about in the future? Or do you take their offense and throw it as far as you can?

The word “forgive” means to send it away from you. If you take the wrong that someone does to you and throw it away, you have forgiven them. You don’t throw away the person who has wronged you. You throw away the offense. And you throw it far enough to be out of your life and out of theirs.

Today, people get things mixed up. They throw people out of their lives and save the offense – just like the Old Man saving diapers. They have nothing to do with the offender, but they save the offense for their diaper collection.”

(taken from Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz p. 69-71)

When I read this story with Austin this morning, it brought tears to my eyes.  We are all guilty of this.  We may say that we have forgiven & forgotten, but usually we haven't.  The "Old Man" immediately became real to me with the fact that Satan will hang on to our every offense & remind us of it when we least expect it.  Lets don't give the devil any more leverage over us than he already has.  Make sure you throw out your diaper collection!
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