Friday, October 4, 2013

Preserving Sin

“We preserve the sins of other people when we pick up an offense and harbor resentment.”

To Preserve:  to keep alive or in existence; make lasting;
to maintain; to keep possession of; to retain; to prepare
so as to resist decomposition.
I read this today in John Bevere’s excellent book, “The Bait of Satan”.  I picture a jar of preserves sitting on a shelf.  But instead of fresh peach preserves, the container holds the offense I have yet to forgive. I “preserve” it, so I can take it out and look it over anytime I want.  I turn it over in my hand and once again I accuse my offender as I re-examine its contents.

Photo by Artur84
Perhaps I go so far as to place it on the dining room table where I will see it every day.  The dance of sunlight reflects off the multifaceted surface and like the tongue seeking a sore tooth, I prod the many layers of my offense.  “Do they know how much they hurt me?” and “What were they thinking?” or “Why didn't they...”
Some jars I have stored away in the cupboard—preserved for close examination whenever the need may arise.  I don’t think of it or go looking for it until something reminds me of what happened. There it sits, waiting to stir things up in my heart again.  The ache arises and I go to the cupboard, take it out and examine it.  Again.  Do I revel in my examination of their sin?  Do I point the finger again and again? Am I judging them just one more time?  On this path, I find myself once again correct…in the right…superior.”

Revel:  to indulge, take pleasure

As long as I can examine the error of their ways, I never have to see my part in the events.  Looking at their sin keeps me blinded to my own.  And I know in every relationship I have made errors, even if my only error is how I respond to the offense.
Yesterday I ran into someone I had not seen in a long time. 

I realized I had a jar preserved in the back of my cupboard with her name on it.

Today I dig out that jar and pour it all out to the Lord.  I choose to forgive every last offense and ask God to complete the work of forgiveness in my heart.  Once I forgive, my blinders are gone.  I see how my pride added to the conflict. At His gentle prompting, I ask forgiveness.  My heart is scrubbed clean.
Cleaning out our “soul cupboard” is hard but necessary work.  We need to make room for the fruits truly worth preserving:  Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)  There may be more jars hidden in my cupboard. If so, I trust once I recognize their contents, God will prompt me to begin the clean up. 

Have you stumbled across any “preserves” in your cupboard lately?  I hope you will share your experience in the comments below.


  1. What an excellent analogy! I am realizing I need to empty-out my cupboards, too!

  2. I pray every blessing to you fellow Christ Follower! I trust your journey into the cupboard will bear only the very best fruit.


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