by F. Yater Tant
The whole world is aware of the accumulating mountains of waste and garbage threatening our planet. Air pollution, water pollution, land pollution are all becoming familiar terms. Every major city seems to be having problems with garbage disposal. We must find some way to handle the garbage, or it will finally overwhelm us.
The human body, like any well-ordered house, also has its garbage disposal equipment. Every time you expel a lung full of air you are throwing off poisonous elements that would very quickly destroy you if they were not discharged from the body. The pores of your skin open up to emit from your system waste material which is deadly if allowed to accumulate. The digestive and urinary systems daily discharge waste materials which ordinarily would bring death to any human being if allowed to accumulate for only one short week.
But the mind of man has no such safeguard! Nature has provided us with "garbage disposal" equipment for the physical organism. What a pity that we do not come also equipped with some sort of mental incinerator where we could forever destroy the mental and emotional "garbage" which keeps on piling up, year after year, destroying our happiness, our effectiveness, and even perhaps destroying our chance of heaven! It is quite as important to keep the mind and heart in good condition as it is the house or the physical organism.
The physical body disposes of its poisonous waste materials quite automatically and as a matter of course. To remove the harmful garbage from the mind requires deliberate and specific effort toward that end. The Bible points the way:
- "Thinketh no evil" is Paul's characterization of a loving heart. Does someone slight you at church? are some of your `friends' saying hateful, spiteful things about you? does your employer over-burden you with work? In short, are you abused, mistreated, unappreciated? What a sad and dreary spectacle is the man who is filled with self-pity! The easiest and best way to eliminate such from your life is to refuse its entrance in the first place! Put the best possible construction (instead of the worst) on the statement another may make concerning you. But suppose the evil is there, open, glaring, and unmistakable. What then? The answer is simple: refuse to cherish or nourish the "hurt" you have received. Hatred in the heart is far more destructive and corrosive in its effects on the one who harbors it, more hurtful to the one who hates than it is to the object of the hatred.
- "Forgetting those things that are past." Every spring it used to be the custom of most housewives to have a "house-cleaning." Closets were cleaned out; rugs taken outside and beaten (how we used to hate that job!) blankets and quilts were washed and stored for the summer. It would be a most healthful practice if at regular intervals each person could make a list of all the things he needs to forget! Pull out the old grudges, harsh words, mistakes, and failures (and a lot of the successes, too!) and put them behind you. Put your fears and anxieties in the mental incinerator, and turn up the burners. Get rid of your old prejudices and childish animosities.
- "Think on these things" are the words that follow the long catalog of healthful and productive items that should occupy the mind. The list (Philippians 4:8) is 'positive thinking' at its best. If the mind is filled with this kind of "whatsoever things" the very presence of such thoughts will tend to nullify and cast out hurtful, lustful, fearful, sinful thoughts that otherwise might accumulate. Consider Paul’s encouraging words. “In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” (Philippians 4:6-8)
So-o-o-o, maybe, after all, man does have that "mental incinerator," that device by which the poisonous and evil things that might contaminate the heart are destroyed and rendered innocuous.
At least, it is worth giving a try.