Photo by Volha Flaxeco on Unsplash
There is a bestselling book that has been blogged about a lot. Written by a Japanese author, it talks of the Konmari method as a way of keeping your home clean, organized, and junk-free. If you’re wondering whether to dispose or keep an item, the author suggests a simple technique: hold the object in your hands and ask yourself one question: Does this spark joy in me? If your answer is no, immediately discard/donate it. If your answer is yes, keep it. This way, you will only have in your home the things that bring you joy.
Well, I tried this in my house and arrived at mixed results. Apparently, super worn, old t-shirts may be things wives want to get rid of, but they still give hubbies and sons a lot of great joy.
Now there is another kind of clutter that Christians need to deal with, and that’s heart clutter. This refers to the junk in our hearts that keep us weighed down, feeling heavy, or oppressed. Let’s call the clean-up process for heart clutter the “BoniMarie” method. Haha! (With apologies to the KonMari method!)
The question that helps me clean up my heart is this: Does this attitude of mine spark joy in God?
Here is heart clutter that doesn’t bring God joy: holding on to offenses. Being a Christian doesn’t make us immune to offenses. People hurt our feelings, and sometimes (knowingly or not), we end up offending others. It happens among friends. It happens between spouses. So what should we do when our feelings get hurt? Should we hold on to our right to be mad? If yes, for how long?
I remember a time when my husband Joey and I had a fight, and I went to bed angry. I couldn’t sleep that night, and I knew it was because I was holding on to my hurts.
Me: God, I don’t want to talk to You because I already know what You want me to do!
But I don’t want to forgive!
(more internal wrestling)
God, just to let You know, I also have a hard time with that “wives, submit to husbands” thing!
(more internal wrestling)
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves (Phil. 2:3).
Sheesh, I hate it when verses enter my head when I’m mad! So I decided to get up that night, and read the rest of Philippians 2:
Do all things without grumbling or disputing,
so that you may be blameless and innocent,
children of God without blemish in a crooked and twisted generation,
among whom you shine as lights in the world (v. 14).
It slowly began to hit me that God wasn’t trying to make me miserable or lead a lousy life. God wanted me to shine! Grudges are like a black hole of bitterness that, sooner or later, is going to suck the life out of me and others.
If I didn’t forgive, what would make me different from the people who don’t follow Jesus? I had a choice to either be a black hole or to shine like a star! What made Jesus such a shining example was His extraordinary forgiveness. I was a recipient of that mercy, many times over. Was I going to be a hoarder and collector of grudges, or choose a cleaner, peaceful heart?
To get rid of heart junk, I needed to ask myself: Which attitude of mine will spark joy in my Savior? Asking that simple question made it easier. Should I insist on my right in being right, or should I release forgiveness just as Christ forgave me?
Dear reader, how about you? Do you have heart clutter, too? Do you have any heart junk you need to get rid of?
We are grateful to Ms. Bonifacio and Church Strengthening Ministry for allowing us to share this article to you. Originally featured in joeybonifacio.com, this article has since been published in the author’s devotional book, Secrets My Father Told Me (CSM, 2017) — available in bookstores nationwide.
Writer and speaker Marie Antonio Bonifacio currently divides her time between Singapore and Manila as she ministers together with her husband, Joey, at Every Nation Singapore. Marie has been married for 35 years and has three married sons, three grandsons, and a shih tzu named Vito.