You can call me a pansy if you want to, but the whole blood and guts thing has never been my favorite part of guy-hood. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good action movie with a lot of explosions, etc. But it’s the real life, 3-dimensional, all 5 senses gore that I’m not fond of! It’s one thing to see it on a screen, but quite another to touch and hear its squishiness and smell the rancid rot.
I have tons of hunting and fishing relatives and the part of those sports that I never liked was the ‘cleaning’/’field dressing’ (or ‘gutting’ as we more often called it). While I was in college I went deer hunting – this was actually the only time I’ve been deer hunting as a hunter instead of the tag-a-long kid that can’t keep quiet (I was good at that role!). I gutted my own deer, but I didn’t like it. Actually, my shot was “less than immediately lethal” so I even had to cut Bambi’s throat before slicing her open and ‘cleaning’ her out. I did it – but I didn’t like it.
All that pales in comparison to the putrid pile of flesh I had to deal with today. It may have been just a temporary failure (I hope) but this morning we discovered that our large freezer was no longer freezing its contents. (What am I supposed to call a freezer that doesn’t freeze things?!) We’re not sure how long the thaw had been happening, but there was a 2 inch pool of blood underneath about 90 pounds of rotting bovine. Having cleaned out the meat, I have never been closer to becoming a vegetarian than I am right now. (I am seriously thanking God and the city of Scottsbluff–Gering that tomorrow is trash day!) I can’t even describe how disgusting this was for me at every level of my being – tactile, visual, financial, olfactorial (just made up that word I think, but I like it), aural – everything in me wanted to do whatever it could that is closest to vomiting.
As I was scooping up rotting meat and being as totally grossed out as I have ever been, God reminded me of Isaiah, where it’s written that “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;” Now, I have some shop rags in my garage that are covered with oil and dirt and auto-grime. That’s not the kind of filth He’s talking about. A less G-rated rendering of this phrase could be ‘bloody tampon’. Gross. (God is graphic!) I’ve always understood the way our sin sickens our Holy God – but this wasn’t the sin of His people, it was the ‘righteous acts’ they did alongside their sin, thinking they could cover it up or outweigh their guilt with their good. It makes God want to wretch.
I’m strongly reminded today that nothing I can do on my own can clean out the rot that I’ve allowed in my life. Nothing that I can do to make you or anybody else admire/approve/respect me will allow God to ignore the rancid stench of sin in my life. It is only by His mercy that I can present myself to Him as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to Him – only by His grace that I can enter into His presence – and only by the blood (ironically) of Jesus that I can be freed from continually having to breathe the smell of death.
It’s easy to deal with rotting meat – you throw it out! Maybe there’s something rotting in our lives that we need to throw out, too – ask God to take you deep into your heart and show you what needs taken to the curb. It’s trash day – take it out.