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“Forgive us our Trash baskets…”

by Gary Knuckles

In his book, Forgiven, Forgiving, and Free, Dan Winkler tells the story of a little boy praying to God. Remembering Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:14,15 the boy prayed, “” Lord, forgive us our trash baskets as we forgive those who put trash in our baskets.” Children sometimes see things adults can’t see but are just as true in their application!

 If you have trash baskets in your house, you know they have to be carried away before real problems begin. After a day or so, they begin to stink! That isn’t all, either! That smell will draw bugs or possibly mice as well as take away your appetite. It just creates all kinds of problems we don’t want or need.

 The same thing is true of our sins. The longer we keep them, the worse things get. One sin leads to another or creates problems that fill our lives with all sorts of bad stuff we don’t want or need. For example, the sin of lust can lead to an immoral relationship that results in an unwanted pregnancy. Perhaps a “mild” drug leads to something stronger and more expensive. The need for more money to keep us high can lead to theft or, in the extreme, murder.

But there is another problem the little boy saw that may not always be readily seen…the problem of letting others fill our trash baskets. Friends, family or influential people in our lives may fill us with things we just don’t need. Guilt, low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety are just a few of the things people will heap upon us. They may sin against us or lead us into a spiritually damaging environment that takes us further away from God.

Whatever the situation, we need forgiveness and the ability to forgive those who “fill our trash baskets.” That is what Jesus pointed out in his model prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. We need forgiveness from God, but that depends on our ability to forgive others who sin against us. It’s a two-way thing: I need God’s forgiveness (to get rid of the trash in my basket) as well as forgiving others (those who put trash in my basket). And, it all begins with God’s love for me (Jn. 3:16) as well as my love for my fellow man (Mt. 22:39). Why not take time to go throw out the trash!


Gary Knuckles lives in Benton, KY and preaches for the Briensburg Church of Christ.

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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33