We cleaned the carpet recently in the basement bedroom where my daughter slept until she graduated from high school and left home, just over a year ago. Carpet cleaning isn’t that bad, especially if there’s no furniture to move, as in this case because she took the furniture with her. Still, it took over a year for me to paint the room so the carpet could be cleaned (I don’t care for painting).
Anyway, the carpet was cleaned on a Saturday. By Sunday evening, the basement smelled musty so I opened some windows to air it out and by Monday evening the smell was almost gone, but an aromatic hint lingered for several days. It sure didn’t take much water to cause the musty odor from mold growth in that carpet. I thought I had it made having cleaned the carpet (because that meant the painting also was done), but eventually, the stench resulting from my actions pervaded the basement.
I do my daily devotions in the basement each morning, but I didn’t notice any problem that Sunday morning after cleaning the carpet. I actually only went down on Sunday evening to see if it was dry enough to move in some stored furniture. The smell really wasn’t that bad then, but I’m afraid it would’ve been more than a nuisance if more time had elapsed before I went back down there. In many homes the basement is used for storage (especially in empty nests like ours) and may be visited only to rotate clothes or get out holiday decorations. Had that been my habit, the carpet would’ve been ruined.
That’s how it is with sin. It doesn’t take much to cause big problems between us and God (Isaiah 59: 1, 2). Sometimes it takes a while for the effects to become evident and we might think we’ve gotten away with the sin, but it will eventually catch up with us (Numbers 32: 23). If we don’t take care of the problem as soon as we become aware of it, the matter gets worse, especially if we try to hide the consequences and their cause like David did when he learned that Bathsheba was pregnant (2 Samuel 11: 1 to 12: 25).
Our previous preacher once stated that each of us has a basement in our inner being from which arise the base (common, unholy, of inferior quality) things in life. When we don’t pay attention to what’s happening there, being careful about what we allow to enter, the stench of sin will erupt from our lives and become evident through consequences to everyone like that musty smell (Matthew 15: 17-20). To avoid that, we need to air out God’s problems with us and take action to promote the right kind of growth rather than the wrong kind (1 John 1: 8, 9; 2 Peter 1: 3-11; 1 Thessalonians 5: 21-23).
Have you taken the necessary steps to clear the air with God? That should be part of everyone’s daily routine.