I've got this one black blazer that I really like to wear. Unfortunately, it has this one little problem. It's wool. Which means it's sort of magnetic - especially for lint and anything else that might jump up and attach itself to that jacket. I'm having to brush that blazer off all the time. It just picks up all this stuff!
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Lint Collectors."
Now, it's not just clothes that are like that. There's way too many people like that - they seem to pick up anything that's negative in the air and hang onto it. They have a tendency to pick up any "lint" that's around.
Maybe you have a tendency to be like that - and maybe you don't even know it. But when there's something negative in the air - frustrations, gossip, negative comments about someone, negative feelings about someone, people's mistakes, tensions between people - well, you just sort of gravitate to that stuff. You collect negatives. You like to hear about problems... talk about problems.
Of course, all this is the opposite of the way Jesus expects us to be. Take, for example, our word for today from the Word of God, beginning with Ephesians 4:26. "Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry...do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building others up...get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice...Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you."
In short, eliminate the negative, accentuate the positive. I wonder if you're basically a positive person? It's one of the words that should describe every follower of Jesus Christ. Of course, even a positive person can have a tendency to pick up way too much lint - I mean, negative. You actually have to make a conscious decision to close your ears to the negative lint that's floating in the air...to walk away from it...to refuse to pass on anything negative about a person.
Remember, love, according to the great love chapter in 1 Corinthians 13, "is patient, love is kind...it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil...it always protects." That's "protects," as in the opposite of "attacks." Instead of wearing a personality that collects the lint in the air, God says to "clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you."
It might be time to evaluate the input you've been welcoming into your heart - and the output that's been coming from you about other people, especially the ones you have a hard time with. Is it possible that you've been collecting negatives? Focusing on negatives? Spreading negatives? That's actually something to confess repentantly to your Lord. Those people you may have been criticizing or judging or putting down are people God's Son gave His life for. He doesn't enjoy hearing about them being talked about or treated disrespectfully. Ask your Savior to begin changing the kind of personality that you put on each morning - to one that doesn't collect all that lint!