People come from near and far for this annual event. The turnout says something about the hunger people have to rid themselves of past mistakes, sins, bad memories, broken hearts, and hurtful relationships. Just smash ‘em with a sledgehammer or put ‘em through a shredder. There! All gone!
If only it was this easy. But it’s not. While there’s much symbolic value in Good Riddance Day, and while it surely feels good for a while, the hurt, the scars, the tough consequences, don’t go away with the swing of a hammer or the push of a button. They linger. They gnaw. They suck the life out of you and steal your joy.
It’s not just what we get rid of that matters; it’s what we embrace in their place that matters more. Jesus told a story about a man that had a demon living in his heart. What a torment that demon was to this poor man! By good fortune, however, the man was able finally to sweep that demons clean—to run it off, to shoo it away, to send it scampering away from his heart. He sure felt better … for a season. But because the man didn’t replace that demon with anything else, the demon came back home to the man’s heart, brought along some friends, and the man was worse in the end than he was in the beginning. See what I mean? It’s not just what we get rid of that matters, it’s what we embrace in their place that matters more.
Could I encourage you on the threshold of a new year to embrace Jesus? He loves you. He forgives you. And He can set up residence in your heart that makes it possible to get rid of your heart-junk once and for all. It’s a process. Jesus does His work over time, but He can fill the void left by the sins, mistakes, and bad decisions that have haunted you for so long. When those demons try to come home, let Jesus answer the door. They won’t stick around for very long.