Have you ever looked up a word in the dictionary and found that it had both good and evil definitions? Some time ago I used the word “purge” in a Sunday announcement asking for help to clean out our Thrift Store. I’d never used that word before and it sounded unusually strong, so I looked it up. I was right; it’s not only strong, but used in the two different contexts, it can present totally opposite meanings.
Purging indeed means to clean out, to remove, to liquidate. But on a grander scale, Hitler tried to purge the world of the Jewish people. And closer to home, a number of misguided, evil men attempted to purge our country of its existence on 9/11, with the plan to bring us to our knees. While neither horrible event was successful, purge can be a powerfully, negative word!
And yet, another definition takes us directly to Jesus and what he has done for us. We are purged from sin by the blood of Jesus…If we confess our sins and desire to do better, we are purged from the guilt and restored to our place with the saints in heaven.
In the days and weeks ahead, perhaps we might look at our lives and search out those places that need purging. And while you’re throwing out, removing, and eradicating those things that hinder you from becoming the person God wants you to be, remember that He intends to replace what you have purged with pardon, absolution, and forgiveness.
About the author:
Previously the priest at St. Francis of Assisi in Lake Placid for 21 years, Rev. Elizabeth L. Nelson is now the Priest at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in LaBelle.