Monday, 08 January 2018 12:46

A Bumping Noise

Written by  Sam Whatley
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One day my wife, Debi, and I were startled by a bumping noise coming from somewhere behind the clothes dryer. The noise would make repetitive bumps and then stop for a time and start back. I pulled the dryer out from the wall and disconnected the cord from the outlet.


I wondered if I was looking at an expensive bill from an electrician when I disconnected the exhaust tube from the dryer. With a long fuzzy duster, I began pushing the buildup of lint and gray dust out of the tube, through the outside vent to the carport. Each time I plunged the duster into the tube, I heard one bump.


Debi went outside, looked up into the vent, and discovered the real problem. Dust and lint had propped the metal flap open just enough to catch the wind. Every time there was a slight movement of air, the flap would swing open, bump closed, and pop open again. So, in trying to discern the problem, we were actually solving it. We did not need an electrician. We needed to keep the tube clean!


Thank the Lord for that bumping noise.  It prevented what could have been a major disaster. If left unchecked, the blockage in the exhaust tube could have trapped the heat and started a fire. Clothes dryers in the U.S. cause more than 15,000 home fires every year.


A similar disaster can happen in our spiritual lives. But, God loves us so much that He sends the Holy Spirit to warn us when our spirits and hearts are in danger. Sometimes it’s our conscience, sometimes a word from scripture, and sometimes a word of insight from a fellow believer. As we go through life we tend to veer away from God’s will. We take up habits, pastimes, and friends that eat away the time and money we need to share with God and His people.


In doing so we pick up lint. And it shows. We start insisting on our way. This quickly leads to disappointments and failures. We get tired of doing the right thing, especially when it goes against our selfish nature. The fibers break down that hold our faith, hope, and love together. Pieces of our peace break off and whirl away. No one feels so lost as one who has been found and wanders away again.


But God is in the cleaning business. When we confess our sin, and forgive others for sinning against us, we feel Him clean out the exhaust tube of our heart. We are set free from the weight of shame and regret. We can breathe again. Life is worth living once more.


Stuffing resentment and anger will always clog us up. We have to talk things out with people. We have to work hard to find some resolution to recurring problems and be first to seek reconciliation with people who have offended us. Otherwise the lint of hurt and alienation will accumulate into a ball that blocks all communication. Like the clothes dryer, we can overheat until we explode.


So, how can we periodically clean up this mess? By keeping accounts short. We serve a God who has forgiven us of all our sins and we are to imitate him. As Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, “‘For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins’” (Matthew 6:14-15) NIV.


How often should we forgive others? Peter asked Jesus if seven times would be enough. “Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times’” (Matthew 18:22) NIV.


In other words, this is an ongoing project, just like keeping the dust from building up in the dryer tube. But we are not doing this in our own strength. Through God’s grace we can forgive quickly and often. We can stay alert to the feelings of others and watch for our part in creating misunderstanding. It is work, but not without reward. We become peace makers. And when there is peace in our houses, there will be peace in our hearts.


**Sam Whatley’s latest book, Ponder Anew, is now available at the Frazer Bookstore located inside Frazer Memorial UMC.



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