By Colin Lane

A clean sweep

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When I was 16, my parents decided they could finally trust me and my brothers enough to leave us home while they went away for a weekend. My grandparents lived just down the street, so we could eat and sleep there if we wanted to.

I saw this as a great opportunity to invite all my mates and some girls over for a Saturday night party – drink some alcohol, listen to some music and have a great time.

I did not have permission, of course, but I figured I would get everything cleaned up well before my parents arrived home the following night. They would never know.

The trouble was, word about our gathering got around and, come party time, people seemed to appear from everywhere. They arrived in cars, on motorbikes and by foot. There was beer by the slab and teenagers in their hundreds. Things were broken and stolen, kids were passing out and there was rubbish everywhere. It was completely out of control.

I was in a panic. I tried everything I could to get people to leave, but nothing worked.

My nana, meanwhile, had become concerned by the number of young people hanging about in the street, and walked down to check on the house. What a sight greeted her! But this tough little lady marched into the house and ordered everybody out. And they left – within minutes she had driven them all out and the place was quiet. She and I got to work, cleaning the house to restore it to its original state. Then, much relieved, I went back to her place to sleep for what was left of the night.

Not another word was ever said about the party.

As I reflect now, it is a great parallel to the Christian story. We allow things into the 'house' – our lives – that do not belong, that cause us trouble, that mess it up. Some of these things are invited in, others are uninvited, but our lives end up broken, dirty or cracked. Through greed, selfishness or pride, because of addictions or unhealthy habits or because of violent word and behaviours, we become polluted. Christians call it sin.

Although we may often try to rid ourselves of the stuff we know is not good for us, it can be difficult to budge. But when we allow the Holy Spirit of God into our lives, restoration takes place. It is like a wonderful house-cleaning job happens within our hearts and souls. Things are restored to their original condition. We are clean. And not another word is said. Because of Jesus, and his death on the cross, there is no punishment from God, and all is forgiven. Is this your life out of control? Does the house of your life need a clean-out? Open the door to Jesus. He will put things right.

(Courtesy Warcry magazine)

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