Have you ever watched the TV show Hoarders?
It chronicles the struggles that people who hoard undergo as they are faced with the prospect of cleaning up their house and getting rid of things. That show is somewhat of a train-wreck to me. It is depressing, gross, and sometimes just plain weird. Yet I seem to be drawn to it. Netflix has the whole series on instant watch. I have been watching the early episodes that I missed when they first aired. My family chooses to find other things to do. 😉
You may be wondering what John MacArthur has to do with anything hoarding related. I have recently been reading his book The Vanishing Conscience. It is not a new book, but it is a very good read. If you do not have it, you can probably get it fairly cheap somewhere. The whole point of the book is sin and more specifically, our reaction to our own sinfulness. The fist chapter, entitled Whatever Happened to Sin? takes a good hard look at psychology and the damage done to our society by making everyone out to be victims of something rather than sinners.
Perhaps the most prevalent means of of escaping blame is by classifying every human failing as some kind of disease. Drunkards and drug addicts can check into clinics for treatment of their “chemical dependencies” . Children who habitually defy authority can escape condemnation by being labeled “hyperactive” or having ADD (attention deficiency disorder) Gluttons are no longer blameworthy; they suffer from an “eating disorder”. Even the man who throws away his family’s livelihood to pay for prostitutes is supposed to be an object of compassionate understanding; he is “addicted to sex”.
We as a society seem to blame everything on anything but our own sinfulness. It isn’t MY fault. I can’t help it. On Hoarders, many of the people are labled as OCD. I always thought of OCD as leaning more to the direction of perfectionism, but hey, what do I know? They are told by counselors, “It’s not your fault. Something made you this way. Don’t feel bad.” The something that made them this way could be anything: an unhappy childhood, a happy childhood that ended with the death of a parent, being poor, my kids all grew up and moved away so now I have stuff everywhere to take their place. The list goes on and on. They never man up (or woman up) and say, “I buy too much. I never get rid of the stuff I don’t need/use/want. I leave garbage lying around. I do not like to clean my bathrooms. I have no reason to keep going on this way” Of course they don’t say something like that! That would mean they have to take responsibility for their own actions. Nobody wants to that.
But what about us? The non-hoarders. Do we confess our sinfulness as sin? If we are prone to “road rage” do we blame it on ourselves? Of course not. We blame our furiousness and rudeness on other cars. They are to blame for the obscenities/lewd gestures/horn-honkings thrown at them. ( Ephesians 4:26 BE ANGRY, AND yet DO NOT SIN; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not give the devil an opportunity.) I have to confess about loss of patience… frequently. Perhaps I lost patience with my precious children or husband, or maybe it was some stranger in Wal-Mart. (Going to Wal-Mart is probably not a good thing for trying to uh, avoid thoughts that I might feel sorry about later. ) The bad thing about having to face a lack of patience is when you really look at it in depth. See, 1 Corinthians 13:4 says: Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant. If you stop right there it is bad enough. Do I not LOVE my family? Of course I do!! According to that verse I should be patient if I love them. When you look at 1 John 4 we can see 7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love it becomes clear that love is pretty high on God’s priority list. See, love is not just mushy-gushy romantical feelings. It’s not just that affection we feel toward our children. It is so much more. If you read that verse from 1 Corinthians in its context you will discover:
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Wow. See number six? Does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. That verse has taken away many a TV show, movie, book, and song from my liking. Now, as I try to watch Hoarders I don’t think about the people as being idiots. I think of them as being unrepentant sinners. I can’t watch that. So, Pastor MacArthur, my husband probably likes you even more now. He always hated that show, anyway.