Once you put something into the garbage, do you still own it?

It’s an interesting question, isn’t it? And it became even more interesting a few years ago when a script for a sequel to the box office hit movieTwilight was discovered by a beauty salon owner in her trash bin. 

So do you? Do you still own the contents of your trash bin?

Well, according to the law in many states, you don’t. Your trash is considered “abandoned property.” That means you’ve relinquished your claim to the items deposited there and you don’t intend to resume ownership.

Which got me to thinking about the stuff I put in my spiritual “trash bin.” What is the spiritual trash bin? Well, it’s the forgiveness bin.

When I take a sin to God and put it in his hands, asking him to forgive it, have I truly abandoned it? Have I really relinquished my claim to it? Or do I sometimes try to resume “ownership”?

The Bible says that when I take a sin to Jesus Christ, he takes it away completely. I no longer own it. He does: “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, NIV)

What about when the shoe is on the other foot? When I put the hurt of someone else’s sin against me in the forgiveness “garbage bin,” do I still want to go out and pick it back out of the garbage bin at times? Or am I willing to truly let it go and relinquish my claim to my hurt or my anger?

The Bible teaches me to do the same for others as Jesus has done for me: “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” (Colossians 3:13, NIV)

So, I’ll ask again: Once you put something in the garbage, do you still own it?