I love the funny story about the young barber who moved to a new community and decided to open up a barber shop. The problem was that there was already a very established barber in town. So the new guy decided to open his shop right across the street from the old barber. To attract business the new barber put out a sign that read: “We Give $5 Haircuts.” The next day the old barber put out a sign in front of his shop across the street: “We Fix $5 Haircuts.”
The fact is that there are plenty of cheap offers in this world. Satan loves to tempt us with cheap cuts and short cuts. Usually it involves doing things the world’s ways rather than God’s way. And the result is that we find ourselves in a big mess.When we try to clean up our own messes we often times make things worse. I remember a haircut I received when I was a boy. My dad wanted to save money normally spent on my haircuts so he bought a set of hair clippers. He started cutting hair on one side of my head, then he moved to the other. Upon examination he realized that one side was shorter than the other so he tried to even up the other side. Well, he got that side too short so he had to cut more off of the other side. This went on until eventually he had to just shave my head. Fortunately it was the summer and it didn’t bother me too much.
So what is the right way to clean up the messes we make of our lives?
First, confess the mess to God. God knows our sin and He is waiting for us to agree with Him that it is sin. The Bible says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9).
Second, let God show you the root of your sin. Often when we set about to clean up our messes, we want to deal only with the external problem. God knows that all our sin comes from the heart (see Matthew 15:19). God wants to get to the root of the sin problem by changing our hearts.
Third, follow God’s direction in cleaning up the mess. God’s forgiveness is immediate. He purchased our pardon on the Cross of Christ long before we ever committed the sin. But the Lord’s forgiveness is transforming. He will show us what steps we need to take to make things right. If we’ve offended someone with our words, God shows us how to go and make it right with them. If we have taken matters into our own hands and stepped out of His will, His Word shows the path back to His way.
The promise of Proverbs 3:5-6 is sure: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.”